Politics

DeSantis team claps back after Trump campaign claimed pro-DeSantis super PAC bus ‘broke down’

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ presidential campaign shot down a claim made Wednesday by former President Donald Trump’s campaign spokesperson Steven Cheung that the bus for the pro-DeSantis super PAC Never Back Down had “broke down” in Des Moines.

“SPOTTED: Tiny @RonDeSantis Super PAC bus broke down on the side of the road in Des Moines. Always Broke Down,” Cheung wrote in a tweet, which was accompanied by an image of the bus on the side of the road.

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Christina Pushaw, the rapid response director for DeSantis’ 2024 campaign, was quick to respond to Cheung’s claim and insisted that people were only “unloading luggage” from the bus when he took the photo.

“SPOTTED: Steven Cheung standing alone in the middle of the road in Des Moines. Watching people unloading luggage from a bus. . . . Wishing he could hitch a ride,” Pushaw wrote in the tweet.

“Sorry. Not interested in getting into the creepy Ron van no matter how much candy you offer,” Cheung, a longtime Trump political adviser, responded.

Cheung’s tweet came ahead of Trump’s speech at the Machine Shed in Des Moines, Iowa, with the Westside Conservative Club on Thursday.

Taking further aim at the DeSantis team on Thursday, Cheung amplified images shared by a local Iowa reporter who claimed a mobile billboard “sponsored by the Never Back Down super PAC” was having “some issues with the display.”

“Always Broke Down,” Cheung reiterated, appearing to make a play off of the super PAC’s name.

The feud among the campaigns, which has become increasingly hostile and seemingly childlike in recent weeks, came hours after Trump took aim at DeSantis on social media over the governor’s different pronunciations of his name.

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“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.”

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.

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.”

Fox News’ Paul Steinhauser contributed reporting.

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