Trump escalates attacks on DeSantis with social media re-tweets posted by Democrats

AP Photo/Julia Nikhinson

You can’t teach an old dog new tricks. Donald Trump is starting his third run for president much as he did during the first run. He appears to be trashing any candidate that he sees as a potential threat to his nomination. Trump is the only Republican candidate who has announced his candidacy so far. Nikki Haley is expected to do so next week. In the meantime, Trump is focused on Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who hasn’t even said if he’ll run in the 2024 GOP presidential primary or not.


Right now, DeSantis is busy being governor. He was re-elected last November. That victory was one for the books. When DeSantis was asked about Trump’s criticism of the governor’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic last month, he pointed to the victory.

“Not only did we win reelection, we won with the highest percentage of the vote that any Republican governor candidate has had in the history of the state of Florida,” DeSantis said then. “That verdict has been rendered by the people of the state of Florida.”

Things got particularly ugly between the two men on Tuesday when Trump re-tweeted a post on Truth Social and asked if Ron DeSantis is a groomer of teenage girls. It’s cringe-worthy.

Although Trump did not directly make the allegations, he did share posts on his social media site, Truth Social, by supporters accusing DeSantis of “grooming” and “ephebophilia” — a sexual attraction to people in their mid- to late teens. Trump and his backers have provided no evidence to support the allegations.

“That’s not Ron, is it?” Trump wrote above one of his supporter’s posts. “He would never do such a thing!”

There is no indication that this claim is true. The picture was originally posted on a blog run by a Democratic political organization. It looks like an attempt at oppo research that Trump decided to join in on. Allegedly the photo may be from when DeSantis was 23 years old and a high school teacher at a boarding and day school in Georgia. Young women are sitting around him and one allegedly holds a brown glass bottle. From the photo I saw, it looks like DeSantis is holding a bottle. There is no indication of the ages of the women or any other details.


It isn’t even a new revelation. It is reported that this is the kind of attack that came from his Democrat challengers during his re-election campaign.

The New York Times reported last year that students remember DeSantis attending at least two parties at which people drank alcohol. The parties were after graduation, the Times reported, anonymously attributing the information to two students. That would mean the photo was taken in 2002.

DeSantis has something that Trump does not – self-discipline. He has refused to wallow in the mud with Trump so far. He was asked about the ugly attack from Trump Wednesday during a news conference.

“I spend my time delivering results for the people of Florida and fighting against Joe Biden,” DeSantis said Wednesday at a news conference in Ocala.

“I don’t spend my time trying to smear other Republicans.”

Do we for a second think that if this kind of accusation was even a little bit accurate, the whole story would not have been exposed and DeSantis would have been denied re-election? Democrats, and Trump, know that the term “groomer” is a hot-button with conservatives. It is a part of the culture war that conservatives are lodging against Democrats. Democrats think grooming is a non-issue, something made up by overwrought conservatives. This kind of social media post is meant to hurt DeSantis with conservatives and also hurt his wife and family. It’s disgusting.


It’s going to be a long campaign season unless we get lucky and the Republican field remains small and a winner is chosen fairly early on. It is to Trump’s advantage that he faces a crowded field. It’s time for new blood and fresh ideas. Voters look forward, not backward.

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