Former President Donald Trump criticized Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis in an interview with Breitbart News at the National Rifle Association (NRA) convention, saying DeSantis should be responding to the flood in Fort Lauderdale instead of campaigning.
“He shouldn’t be campaigning right now,” Trump said of DeSantis. “He should be there.”
Although DeSantis has not formally announced a presidential campaign, a group which he is aligned with has started running attack ads against Trump in the Republican presidential primary.
Rather than going there to oversee the response, DeSantis continued with his events in other places across the country this week—while the Fort Lauderdale airport was closed. He appeared in Ohio, in Virginia, and in New Hampshire this week while the ravaged city has raced to respond to the crisis. Donald Trump Jr., the former president’s eldest son, had already ripped DeSantis publicly for not coming back to Florida to deal with the issues in Fort Lauderdale. But Trump himself doing it is new, and represents a significant escalation in the brewing war between the former president and the governor of Florida. But it’s not just Trump allies criticizing DeSantis’s lackluster Fort Lauderdale response. The mayor of Fort Lauderdale, a Democrat, also said DeSantis has not called him. And some state legislators from the area are also ripping DeSantis. State Sen. Shevrin Jones, another Democrat, called DeSantis not returning to Florida and calling off the events in other states “disgraceful.” In response, DeSantis spokesman Bryan Griffin said that DeSantis has been engaged in the response even though he is not physically present in Florida.