Former President Trump went after fellow GOP presidential candidate Ron DeSantis on Monday, after the Florida governor received the influential endorsement of Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds (R).
“Why would anybody endorse Ron DeSanctimonious, who is like a wounded bird falling from the sky?” Trump wrote in a Truth Social post on Monday evening. “His Poll numbers are terrible, he is totally against Ethanol, and fought to destroy Social Security and Medicare.”
“Well, the “Nation’s most unpopular governor,” Kim Reynolds of Iowa, just endorsed him. What’s that all about?” he added.
Reynolds originally vowed to stay out of the 2024 GOP primary, hosting events with nearly every candidate in the race around the hot-bed early primary state. Trump previously went after her neutral position.
“I opened up the Governor position for Kim Reynolds, & when she fell behind, I ENDORSED her, did big Rallies, & she won,” Trump said in July. “Now, she wants to remain ‘NEUTRAL.’ I don’t invite her to events! DeSanctus down 45 points!”
Those comments ruffled feathers in the Hawkeye State, as Reynolds remains popular in the state and is seen as an prominent political force. According to Morning Consult polling, Reynolds has a +6 net approval rating and is +65 among Republicans.
The former president first attacked Reynolds over the endorsement late Sunday, before it was official. He called the Iowa governor “disloyal” and claimed the move would be the “end of her political career.”
In her endorsement on Monday, Reynolds painted Trump as selfish and DeSantis as an effective option for president.
“We need someone who will fight for you and win for you. We need someone who won’t get distracted but will stay disciplined who puts this country first and not himself, she said. “That leader is Ron DeSantis.”
The DeSantis campaign is pinning its hopes on Iowa, with senior campaign leaders saying a win there is the only way they could hope to overcome Trump, given his significant lead in polls nationally.
A recent campaign memo tagged other GOP candidates as “spoilers,” despite the surging popularity of former U.N. ambassador Nikki Haley in the state. A Des Moines Register poll last week found that DeSantis and Haley are tied for second in polling at 16 percent support each.
But that’s still 27 points behind Trump, who has continued to hold on to a massive lead since primary season began in the early summer.
The Iowa Caucus, the first primary vote in the nation, will be held on Jan. 15.
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