Conservatives lashed out at former Republican President Donald Trump after he gave Florida Republican Governor Ron DeSantis—a GOP favorite to run in 2024—a harsh new nickname during a rally in Latrobe, Pennsylvania.
Trump, who has been making the rounds in crucial swing states ahead of the midterm elections, referred to DeSantis as "Ron DeSanctimonious" while touting poll numbers—a source for which he did not provide—that place him 60 points ahead of DeSantis should the men decide to run against one another for the Republican presidential nomination.
You can hear what he said in the video below.
Trump's words prompted several prominent conservatives to criticize him, accusing him of sowing division among the ranks of the Republican Party.
For instance, Rod Dreher, the senior editor at The American Conservative, called Trump "an idiot" and praised DeSantis as "a far more effective leader of the Right than Trump was."
Matt Walsh, who writes for The Daily Wire and has a Twitter following of more than 1 million users, also came to DeSantis' defense, referring to him as "an extremely effective conservative governor who has had real policy wins and real cultural wins."
"Trump isn’t going to be able to take this one down with a dumb nickname. He better have more than that up his sleeve."
Walsh later issued a follow-up tweet in which he sarcastically applauded Trump for publicly attacking DeSantis—a popular conservative governor who is expected to win his re-election bid easily—mere days before the midterms "when we’re all supposed to be showing a united front."
Fox News contributor Joe Concha also spoke out, cautioning that Trump's attacks on DeSantis "are going to have a boomerang effect."
He noted that the overwhelming majority of Trump's supporters are "big fans" of DeSantis and his policies, adding that Trump's words "reflect[s] poorly" on him ahead of the midterms.
Trump is expected to make an official announcement that he will run for office again in 2024. The New York Timesreported last week that he told an Iowa crowd to "get ready" even while mired in a slew of investigations into his attempt to subvert the will of the American electorate and remain in power following the 2020 general election.
But the news that his comment about DeSantis was greeted so poorly prompted many to take delight in the sight of conservatives eating their own.
Trump has become widely known for using nicknames to criticize, insult, or otherwise express commentary about media figures, politicians, and foreign leaders regardless of their party affiliation.
It is more than likely that he lifted the "Ron DeSanctimonious" pejorative from political consultant and longtime ally Roger Stone, who said in a Truth Social post last week that Trump's endorsement "MADE Ron DeSanctimonius Governor."