Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) privately blasted former President Donald Trump as a “moron who has no business running for president” to his staffers.

DeSantis is seen by many as a strong and likely Republican challenger to Trump if he decides to run for the White House in 2024 as he has hinted at many times. The Florida governor out-raised Trump with $177 million in the first six months of the year.

Reports of DeSantis’ private feelings come from a Vanity Fair profile on the governor’s rise in politics.

“DeSantis says the only way to beat Trump is to attack him head-on,” a GOP source familiar with DeSantis’s thinking told the publication. “He says he would turn to Trump during a debate and say, ‘Why didn’t you fire Fauci? You said you would build the wall, but there is no wall. Why is that?’”


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DeSantis’ style of politics has been considered similar to Trump’s. DeSantis also has not officially declared a bid for the White House.

Scott Reed, a GOP strategist, noted in the article, “DeSantis has caught a moment where he’s a stark contrast to Trump’s crazy governing style, and he’s doing it from a MAGA state. He’s got two of the best assets: He can raise money and he has a message.”

Trump is reportedly critical of DeSantis behind closed doors as well.

“I heard that Trump was describing Florida Governor Ron DeSantis in similar terms, calling him ‘fat,’ ‘phony,’ and ‘whiny,’ while claiming credit for making his candidacy in 2018,” New York Times journalist Maggie Haberman wrote in her upcoming book Confidence Man: The Making of Donald Trump and the Breaking of America.

Publicly, Trump has said he has a “good relationship” with DeSantis.

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