Politics

DeSantis fed up with Trumps’ bizarre nickname, fuss over last name pronunciation: ‘Juvenile’

It’s the latest flash point in the increasingly bitter war of words between former President Donald Trump and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis as they battle for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination.

On Wednesday evening, as DeSantis was taking the stage for his fourth event in Iowa, Trump took aim at him on social media over the governor’s different pronunciations of his name.

“Have you heard that ‘Rob’ DeSanctimonious wants to change his name, again. He is demanding that people call him DeeeSantis, rather than DaSantis. Actually, I like ‘Da’ better, a nicer flow, so I am happy he is changing it. He gets very upset when people, including reporters, don’t pronounce it correctly. Therefore, he shouldn’t mind, DeSanctimonious?” Trump said.

Media reports in recent days have highlighted how DeSantis has used two different pronunciations of his name in recent weeks, switching between “Deh-Santis” and “Dee-Santis.”

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DeSantis, in New Hampshire Thursday morning, was asked during an appearance on the news-talk radio program “Good Morning New Hampshire with Jack Heath” about the jabs from Trump.

“I think it’s so petty. I think it’s so juvenile. I don’t think that’s what voters want. And honestly I think that his conduct, which he’s been doing for years now, I think that’s one of the reasons he’s not in the White House now. Because I think he alienated too many voters for things that really don’t matter. So I don’t get in the gutter for any of that,” DeSantis said.

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“Now look, we do have substantive differences and I think President Trump did a lot of great things. I still give him credit for the great things he did. But he’s attacking me on policy where we have a disagreement and I’m the one who’s in the right on this,” DeSantis added as he pointed to the disagreements in recent days between Trump and DeSantis over the Florida governor’s handling of COVID crisis and Trump’s comments that then-Gov. Andrew Cuomo of NY did a better job than DeSantis, and their disagreements over an immigration and border security measure supported by then-President Trump and ultimately opposed by then-Rep. DeSantis.

Since declaring his candidacy for president last week, DeSantis has been stepping up his counterattacks against Trump, who’s been blasting his main rival for the GOP nomination for months.

Trump, who remains the commanding front-runner in the race for the GOP presidential nomination as he makes his third straight bid for the White House, has been taking aim at DeSantis since last autumn. The former president, his political team and allies have amplified their attacks the past couple of months.

DeSantis had mostly resisted responding to Trump’s attacks until last week.

On Tuesday in Iowa as he kicked off his first campaign swing as a 2024 candidate, DeSantis started aggressively throwing punches during a question and answer session with reporters.

“So look, I’m going to respond to attacks,” DeSantis said as he kicked off a four-day swing through Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina, the first three states to lead off the Republican presidential nominating calendar. “I’m gonna counterpunch and I’m gonna fight back on it.”

And on Thursday, in his New Hampshire radio interview, DeSantis argued that “I think the substance — people want to see the substance. I think that’s totally legitimate. But the juvenile name-calling and all that stuff. That’s not the way I roll… I think it is a distraction and I think it turns off the voters. How are we going to be able to win independent voters in New Hampshire and other key states if we’re going to be engaged in that type of back and forth. I think the voters are sick of it. I think they want to hear about the problems facing the country and how you can deliver results for them.”

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