Former President Donald Trump, on his first campaign visit to Iowa on Monday, said Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is “probably” his biggest challenger for the GOP presidential nomination, but added that “we won’t have much. Challenge.”
The former president spoke to reporters on his way to the first state in next year’s Republican primary lineup. He’s speaking, on education, Monday night.
Asked if the Florida governor was his biggest challenger, Trump said, “I would probably say so, but you never know what happens. That could change. I think we won’t have much of a challenge.”
The former president said he probably last spoke to DeSantis “a few months ago,” and although he said there was “no animosity” between them, Trump didn’t pass up the opportunity to jab at the Florida Republican. The former president said he probably regrets endorsing DeSantis for governor several years ago.
“I think it’s a strange thing,” Trump said. “Because he was out of politics. He was dead. And, you know, I don’t think it’s good. I’m a very loyal person. So I don’t understand betrayal. I really don’t. But you see you see loyalty in politics.”
The former president has turned sour on many Republicans he once admired or who worked for him.
Former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, the only other major GOP contender to announce her bid, has already moved on to Iowa.DeSantis, along with former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and former Vice President Mike Pence.
PenceDuring a gridiron dinner in Washington, DC over the weekend, Trump denounced Trump’s continued election denials and said the former president endangered his family’s lives on January 6, 2021. “History will hold Donald Trump accountable,” Pence said.
Trump responded to Pence’s comments, saying the former vice president should be blamed for the attack on the Capitol on January 6, 2021, to act to certify the election results.
“As far as Mike, I heard his statement, and I guess he’s not working being nice because he’s number three in the polls,” Trump said. “So he thought he might not be any better. But, you know, he’s out there campaigning and he’s trying hard and he’s a nice guy. I know him. I had a great relationship at the end. If he’s voted back to the legislators If he had sent, then they wouldn’t have had a problem with January 6. So, in many ways you can blame him for January 6.”
Pence has repeatedly said he has no choice but to certify the election results.