(FORT WALTON BEACH, Fla.) — Florida GOP Gov. Ron DeSantis responded for the first time to former President Donald Trump’s escalating criticism, telling the press: “All that’s just noise.”
As he spoke at Fort Walton Beach High School on Tuesday morning, DeSantis was asked by a reporter to comment on “some of the less than flattering comments” from Trump and about his expected 2024 announcement this evening.
While he didn’t address Trump’s pending announcement, or the former president by name, DeSantis — widely seen as a potential rival to Trump for the party’s nomination — said taking “incoming fire” is part of the job.
“I don’t think any governor got attacked more, particularly by corporate media, than me over my four-year term,” he said. “What you learn is all that’s just noise. And really what matters is are you leading? Are you getting in front of issues? Are you delivering results for people? And are you standing up for folks? And if you do that, then none of that stuff matters.”
DeSantis concluded that the criticism means he’s doing a good job: “And, you know, at the end of the day, I would just tell people to go check out the scoreboard from last Tuesday night.”
Trump-backed candidates lost up and down the ballot in last week’s elections, especially in battleground states considered crucial to Republicans’ odds of taking back the House and the Senate.
His picks for Senate in Arizona, Nevada and Pennsylvania lost to Democrats. In Georgia, Trump-backed Herschel Walker is facing a runoff election against Democratic incumbent Raphael Warnock.
Plus, candidates who espoused his false claims about the 2020 election lost several key governor’s races and secretary of state races.
DeSantis, meanwhile, cruised to reelection by defeating his Democratic opponent Charlie Crist by nearly 20%. The New York Post, the day after the election, ran a cover featuring DeSantis with the headline: “DeFuture.”
Trump’s recently taken to calling DeSantis “Ron DeSanctimonious” as he’s ramped up his rhetoric against the governor.
DeSantis is “an average REPUBLICAN Governor with great Public Relations, who didn’t have to close up his state, but did, unlike other Republican Governors,” Trump wrote in a lengthy Truth Social post last week.
Trump is expected to announce another White House run on Tuesday night from his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida. It would be his third campaign for the presidency as a Republican.
DeSantis has frequently sidestepped questions about 2024, telling the media throughout the campaign that he was laser-focused on securing a second-term as governor. But in the runup to Election Day, he traveled around the country to stump for other GOP candidates.
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