Former President Donald Trump is approaching Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis with a newly urgent hostility, rushing to turn the Republican base against his most formidable potential rival in 2024.
“RINO GLOBALIST,” Trump fumed last week on his Truth Social website, using the pejorative acronym for “Republican in name only.” On Tuesday, he posted twice to call attention to a 2021 blog post from a site called The Hill Reporter, which purportedly showed a picture of DeSantis with several young women during his brief time as a high school teacher more than 20 years ago. Trump’s posts questioned, without evidence, whether DeSantis was inappropriate with his female students.
NBC News has not confirmed the authenticity of the picture. DeSantis has not commented on it.
DeSantis, who has not yet launched a presidential campaign, has not engaged as directly or as explicitly as Trump has. But he has begun to respond with thinly veiled insults of his own.
When asked last week about the former president’s attacks over how he handled the Covid pandemic, DeSantis pointed to his own re-election victory, an unsubtle reminder that voters rejected Trump after one term.
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