On Saturday (March 26), while at his first campaign rally in Waco, Texas, former President Donald Trump’s mocking of Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, a potential GOP primary rival, was met with silence.
While giving his speech, Trump gave an unflattering impression of DeSantis — an impression of him begging the former President for his endorsement in 2018, which Trump credits as securing DeSantis the gubernatorial win in Florida.
Imitating what was meant to sound like a desperate whimper, Trump re-enacted an apparent exchange the two had in 2018.
While playing himself, Trump queried DeSantis’s ability to win, saying, “You can’t win, can you?”
When playing DeSantis’s part, the whimper kicked in, with his reenactment of DeSantis saying, “Sir, if you endorse me, I’ll win. Please, please, sir, endorse me.”
Similar jabs aimed at other opponents have been a hit with Trump’s crowds, but the crowd at Waco seemed unimpressed with the disparaging recollection.
Although some in the crowd responded with laughter or claps, attendees were far more responsive to Trump’s attacks on his typical enemies like mainstream media.
DeSantis, who hasn’t announced a 2024 bid, is considered Trump’s most prominent GOP primary rival. The Florida Governor won his reelection bid with a landslide victory, and his embrace of conservative and culture war politics has propelled his popularity among Republican voters.
DeSantis’s meteoric rise as a formidable competitor has prompted Trump to increase his attacks on the Florida Governor in recent weeks, a trend he continued in Waco.
Describing DeSantis as a “fake,” Trump took issue with the Florida Governor’s loyalty, or lack thereof, recalling that DeSantis won the Gubernatorial race because of Trump’s endorsement but wouldn’t refuse speculation that he’d run against Trump in 2024.