Ron DeSantis made some of the harshest criticisms of Donald Trump to date on Thursday.
He said that the former president was to blame for his own loss in the 2020 election and that his main competitor in the GOP primary race lacked the vigor to run the country once more.
With a series of retorts that made it clear he intended to reframe the contest around the former president’s many flaws, DeSantis mocked Trump at a campaign event that had been intended to showcase support from Florida sheriffs.
“Let’s just be honest, he energized Democrats. You could have John Kennedy walk through the door right now and he wouldn’t energize Democrats as much as Donald Trump does.” DeSantis said.
The comments coincide with DeSantis’ recent turn to a more combative strategy.
Questions DeSantis was asked during the Tampa event in large part served as the catalyst for the most recent round of attacks.
A DeSantis supporter once questioned how the Florida governor would defeat a candidate who “fills stadiums.”
“Not anymore.” DeSantis said in response.
“Here’s the thing: a voter that goes to 10 rallies, their vote counts the same as somebody that’s unenthusiastic and then goes and votes. And we just have to understand that,” he continued.
DeSantis, though, also made an unprovoked jab at Trump’s broken campaign vow to erect a wall along the southern border and make Mexico pay for it. DeSantis promised the gathering that he would complete what Trump had started.
Following the announcement of his fundraising figures on Wednesday, just hours after Trump’s, DeSantis also went on to question Trump’s as well.