DeSantis Against Personal Attacks on Trump Despite Struggling Campaign
Ron DeSantis said Sunday he’s not interested in launching personal attacks on 2024 Republican frontrunner Donald Trump, even as the Florida governor continues to trail the former president by a wide margin in the polls.
Appearing on Fox News’ MediaBuzz, DeSantis, whose campaign recently let go about a dozen staffers, was asked how his strategy at going after Trump contrasts with someone like former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s.
“Christie says he’s the only one that goes directly at Trump — insult for insult, calling him a coward, and so forth — and that the rest of you just dance around for fear of offending him or his supporters,” anchor Howard Kurtz said. “Does he have a point?”
DeSantis replied that he doesn’t “do insults.”
“I think just getting in this insult game turns voters off. It’s not something I want to do,” he explained, adding that he hasn’t shied away from criticizing Trump over policy matters like the southern border wall, the national debt, and his handling of Covid and the resulting lockdowns. In a Fox News appearance last week, for instance, DeSantis accused Trump of “colluding with big tech” to censor a story about Hunter Biden.
“I’ve been very, very frank at that, but I have no interest in attacking Donald Trump or any of these other candidates personally,” he said. “I think we’ve got to rise above that and just focus on the issues.”
DeSantis, whose performance thus far has worried conservative media mogul Rupert Murdoch, as Rolling Stone reported, went on to deny that he let Trump form a narrative about him before he formally entered the GOP primary. Trump has had no problem throwing barbs at DeSantis, saying in early May that he “needs a personality transplant.”
“Did you let Trump define you by waiting too long to respond to his attacks when you were being governor and weren’t officially in the race?” wondered Kurtz.
“Not at all,” DeSantis replied. “I think even some of these polls — if you’re going to take them for what they’re worth — they say I have the highest favorability among Republican voters, and so I think they made a big mistake by spending all that money against me.”