Former President Donald Trump claimed during his Waco rally Saturday evening that Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis had tearfully begged him for his endorsement during his 2018 run for the governorship.
In fact, the president even acted it out a little bit, going so far as to emulate an allegedly crying, pleading DeSantis. What’s unusual, though, is that his reenactment garnered very little laughter from the crowd.
“I’m a loyalist, and when a man comes to me, tears in his eyes, he’s at almost nothing in the polls, and he’s fighting somebody that’s at 42 [percent] and he’s got almost 30 million dollars in the bank. He’s at almost nothing, and he’s got no cash. And I say I can’t give you an endorsement. There’s no way you can win. You’re dead,” he said.
“But he fought a little bit … on impeachment hoax number one, impeachment hoax number two, meaning on television. Because I didn’t know him very well. But I saw him. So he came and really wanted it. I said you can’t win, can you? ‘Sir, if you endorse me, I’ll win. Please, please, sir, endorse me.’ And I said alright, let’s give it a shot,” he added.
Instead of the entire crowd bursting into laughter, which is the usual response when Trump performs a reenactment of something, the crowd remained mostly quiet — indicating, critics argue, that DeSantis is mostly liked, even by Trump’s base:
See people don’t want the in fighting. And the attacks against desantis.
— Nikki mac (@Nikkimac187) March 26, 2023
Not a good look for don. DeSantis is obviously liked by the normal gop voter
— Ben Woods (@BenWood86768012) March 26, 2023
Weak reaction by the crowd. Trump should probably stop attacking DeSantis. It isn’t popular.
— Pioneer (@PioneerJane) March 26, 2023
Even Trump’s supporters know he’s lying and spewing bullsh*t about DeSantis. Does Trump not have competent advisors to tell him to STFU?
— Palmetto State Conservative (@PStConservative) March 26, 2023
A few days ago, I was predicting he’s going to win in a landslide in 2024. With his behavior towards DeSantis, not anymore. What a shame! He didn’t have to behave like that. If he keeps at it, he’ll definitely lose many of his supporters, including me and my family.
— Minda Budzinak (@skiptocyte2) March 26, 2023
The crowd’s silence continued even as the former president doubled down on his attacks, reportedly bashing DeSantis over his congressional record, his handling of the COVID crisis, his handling of crime, etc.
The crowd even remained mostly quiet when he bashed DeSantis for refusing to bow out of the 2024 presidential election.
“So he gets the  nomination because of you. He wins the  election because of you. Two years later, the fake news is up there saying, ‘Will you run against the president.’ And he says,’ I have no comment.’ I say that’s not supposed to happen. So I’m not a big fan,” Trump said.
Crowd’s reaction to Trump knocking DeSantis: pic.twitter.com/R6B4xGZqMS
— Vaughn Hillyard (@VaughnHillyard) March 25, 2023
However, the crowd did perk up once Trump started bragging about his poll numbers, which for the most part currently show him dominating the 2024 primary dojo.
“A second straight national poll indicates that former President Donald Trump is building a lead over Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis as the 2024 Republican presidential nomination race heats up,” Fox News reported last week.
“Trump stands at 41% support among Republican voters questioned in a Monmouth University survey release, with DeSantis at 27%, and everyone else in field of actual and potential field of GOP White House hopefuls in the low single digits.”
Monmouth’s previous survey, reportedly conducted in February, showed the opposite, with DeSantis beating Trump 53 percent to 40 percent in a two-way race.
Meanwhile, a Quinnipiac University poll released a week earlier showed Trump ahead of DeSantis by 14 points, a huge jump from the six-point advantage that was reportedly recorded in February.
Some believe the jump in Trump’s poll numbers stems from reports that Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg is intent on indicting the former president for having in 2016 paid off a porn star to keep her silent about their affair.
Indeed, even liberal comedian Bill Maher has warned that Bragg’s war against the former president could deeply backfire.
Bill Maher warns Dems arresting Trump would be ‘rocket fuel’ for 2024 https://t.co/ct5EieP4wM
— ConservativeLibrarian (@ConserLibrarian) March 25, 2023
“I just would like to go on record in saying I think this is a colossal mistake if they bring these charges. Not just one, you know. I mean, yes, he’s done a lot of bad things, and I’m sure he did this — everything they accused him of [doing], he did. But first of all, it’s not gonna work,” he said on the latest edition of his HBO show.
“It’s gonna be rocket fuel for his 2024 campaign. And it’s just gonna look to MAGA nation like, ‘Oh, you know, you tried with Mueller, you tried with Ukraine, you tried with January 6. Now we go to the porn star? Really? You’re down to that?!” he added.
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