Former President Donald Trump denied ever calling Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R) “Meatball Ron” in a social media post on Saturday, refuting claims and reports that Trump insulted DeSantis’ appearance by calling him various nicknames in private conversations, though he continued to criticize the Florida governor and potential 2024 adversary.
“I will never call Ron DeSanctimonious “Meatball “Ron”, Trump said on his Truth Social social media network early Saturday, adding that it would be “totally inappropriate” to do so.
Despite claims refuted by a New York Times report which suggested he called DeSantis “Meatball Ron” and “Shutdown Ron” in private, Trump criticized DeSantis for his relationships with Paul Ryan and Jeb Bush and his decision to close public spaces during the pandemic.
DeSantis has previously responded to Trump’s criticisms, suggesting he doesn’t “spend his time trying to smear other Republicans.” according at Politico—although DeSantis suggested Trump “go check the scoreboard” after being re-elected governor in November.
A University of Quinnipiac survey published on Thursday indicated that Trump (42%) was favored over DeSantis (36%) as the frontrunner for the Republican Party’s presidential candidate.
What we don’t know
DeSantis has yet to announce his intention to run for president in 2024, although a group of Michigan state GOP lawmakers delivered by hand a letter asking him to appear in January.
Trump has regularly used nicknames for his political opponents, although the former president has lobbied for a number of attacks on DeSantis in recent months after polls indicated the pair were in close competition for the Republican nomination. . Trump previously claimed that DeSantis was ‘preparing high school girls with alcohol’ after the New York Times reported DeSantis had partied with students while working as a teacher at a private school in Georgia. DeSantis did not directly respond to the accusation, although he noted that he was not working to “smear” other Republicans. Denying claims that he called DeSantis “Meatball Ron” – appearing to be an insult to DeSantis’ appearance – Trump called Ryan a “light-killing Fox News” and Bush a “Low Energy”.
Michigan Republicans tell Governor DeSantis to run in 2024 – latest sign Trump is losing battleground states (Forbes)