Former President Donald J. Trump explained why he has savaged Florida Governor Ron DeSantis over the past several months, constantly escalating a nasty family feud between the two top GOP presidential hopefuls in what is perhaps the most pivotal election in the nation’s history.
Trump sat down with Fox News host Sean Hannity for an exclusive interview which aired on Monday night and during the wide-ranging discussion, the topic predictably turned to the popular Sunshine State leader and his blistering onslaught on a man whom many see as the future of the Republican Party.
(Video: Fox News)
“The question I’m asked the most about, about you of late, is Ron DeSantis. This is the question. What happened?” Hannity asked.”I thought they were friends. What happened?”
Trump responded that the widely perceived belief that he and DeSantis are friends was inaccurate and then proceeded to go on record with his side of the story about the now acrimonious relationship between the two with an extensive and detailed answer.
“I didn’t know him well, but he was on impeachment, hoax number one, and impeachment hoax number two, which I won,” Trump said of DeSantis’ defending him, “He was one of a hundred and fifty people that would go on television and defend me, and he was no Jim Jordan, he was no… I mean I had a lot of people that really defended me right?”
“But he was good, and he defended me, so all of a sudden he’s running for governor, and people didn’t view him as governor,” Trump continued, opining that many “didn’t view” the former member of Congress as gubernatorial material.
“And he announced he was running for governor and he wanted to get my support. Now I didn’t know the person that was running, named Adam Putnam,” he said, referring to the former Florida agriculture commissioner whom DeSantis beat in the 2018 GOP primary. “But I didn’t know him, and I knew Ron a little bit, I didn’t know him very well, but I knew him a little bit. I knew him as somebody that defended me.”
“So what happened with Ron is the following,” Trump explained. “He came to see me. He was getting killed. He was being crushed. Adam Putnam, it was over. I had many people that I know that worked for Adam Putnam, they said it was like a nuclear – I hate to use this expression – it was like a nuclear weapon went off when you endorsed because they considered the race to be over.”
“He was way up on the polls,” Trump recalled of Putnam. “He was beating Ron by 30 points or so, It was over. Ron came to see, tears in his eyes. He said I need you to do me a big favor. First, he asked for the meeting, then he asked me for the favor. I said, ‘what’s the favor?’ ‘Would you endorse me? I fought for you,'” he said of DeSantis, adding that he was so far behind that not even the endorsements of iconic U.S. presidents George Washington or Abraham Lincoln would have helped.
“I said, let’s give it a shot,” Trump said, noting that DeSantis defended him during his tribulations and Putnam didn’t, recalling a meeting with the losing candidate later who told him that when he endorsed DeSantis, it was ‘like a rocket went up’ and at the time, he had taken it for granted that the race was over that that ‘they were already buying furniture for the governor’s mansion.'”
“So I said, let’s give it a shot, Ron. Okay. And he was desperate. I said, okay. I gave him a nice endorsement. I said, You write out what you’d like, and let me say it,” the former POTUS continued. “He wrote it out. I thought it was terrible. I changed it and made it great and I gave him a great endorsement. From the moment I pressed that button, he blew the guy away. The race was over. They never even got to spend their money.”
“Then I had to get him ready, I had to get him against the star of the Democrat Party, it was going to be Stacey Abrams, and how we call him a crackhead because that’s what he was, a crackhead,” Trump added, referring to former Tallahassee mayor Andrew Gillum, whom DeSantis narrowly beat and who was later discovered in a Miami Beach hotel room where he had engaged in a drug-fueled sex romp with a homosexual escort, effectively ending his political career.
“And there was no way Ron was going to beat Gillum,” he opined. “So he got the nomination but there was no way because this guy was going to be the future of the Democrat Party, and I said, Ron, you can beat this guy. Let’s go. I got him the nomination.”
“By the way, couldn’t have gotten the nomination. He would be working in either a pizza parlor place or a law office right now okay, and he wouldn’t be very happy,” Trump said, prompting Hannity to ask, “So it’s about loyalty?”
Trump then segued into his weekend rally at Waco, Texas where he spoke up for the January 6 political prisoners who are being held under hellish conditions in a special Washington, D.C. jail as well as the song that he recorded with some of the victims of the regime which has rocketed up the charts, quipping “So now I feel like Elvis,” before the conversation returned to DeSantis.
“Just to finish up with DeSantis,” Trump said, steering the question back on track. “So I said, let me do a couple of rallies. I did a couple of rallies, two or three, massive rallies, massive. I said ‘You’re going to win, Ron, I don’t think so. He’s a star,'” he added, putting words in the then-candidate’s mouth. “I said, You’re going to win. I’m telling you.”
“And he ends up winning. And then a couple of years later, they say, to Ron DeSantis, will you run against the president? And he said I have no comment. I have no comment. And I looked at the people I was with. They said that’s not supposed to happen,” he said.
“Here, I got him the nomination, and I don’t mean I got them like… because you know what? I help a lot of people. A couple I absolutely made. I helped the governor of Georgia,” he added, referring to Gov. Brian Kemp. “I would say he hasn’t been exactly great as far as a relationship. I helped a lot of people get elected. I mean, I could name five senators, but I could name 25 senators that I helped.”
“But some I got in, Ron, I got in. He was losing and there was no way, it was over.” Trump added. “He was dead. He was going to drop out. He was gone. And then when they asked him, is he going to run, he said, ‘I have no comment.'”
And a lot of people, political people said, ‘Sir, never bring that subject up. The voter doesn’t care about that subject,’ But I do. And I think people do care about loyalty,” he said.
“When you help somebody, really help him, I mean, get him in and then he announces that essentially he’s going to run against you. That’s what he announced. Because when he said that, that means to me that you’re going to run,” Trump noted.
“And he’s going to run, but he’s getting crushed now in the polls because he did little things like voting against Social Security, voting against Medicare. His numbers aren’t very good on COVID,” Trump concluded.
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