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Politics

Ron DeSantis jabs Trump, says he would be a ‘lame duck’ president if elected

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Emma Kinery@emmakinery

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Key Points
  • Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida says former President Donald Trump failed to “drain the swamp” in Washington while serving in the White House.
  • DeSantis lags rump by around 40 points nationally in the average polling numbers of the Republican primary.
  • DeSantis said he would adopt a tactic used by President Joe Biden, the budget reconciliation process, to pass his agenda in Congress.

In this article

  • DIS
Republican U.S. presidential candidate and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis takes a questions from an audience member during the Never Back Down South Carolina Bus Tour at Revel Events Center in Greenville, South Carolina, October 4, 2023.
Alyssa Pointer | Reuters

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis went on the attack against Donald Trump in an interview with CNBC’s “Squawk Box,” saying the former president would be a “lame duck” if elected for a second term.

“He’s got limitations in terms of his electability,” DeSantis said Friday, referring to Trump, who is leading the governor and all other candidates for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination by a wide margin in polls.

“He would be a lame duck on day one if he could even get elected. I think he’d have major problems with personnel,” DeSantis said. “And of course, he didn’t deliver on his core promises.”

He said that Trump failed to “drain the swamp” — a reference to official Washington institutions — and make Mexico pay for a border wall.

DeSantis also noted that Trump, instead of cutting the national debt, increased it by $7.8 trillion.

“We’re going to be able to make that case right and I’ve delivered on these policies better than anybody,” DeSantis said.

DeSantis currently lags behind Trump by around 40 points nationally in the average polling numbers of the Republican primary.

Asked if his faltering poll numbers have anything to do with his public fight with Disney, DeSantis denied it.

“I don’t think that’s the reason,” DeSantis said.

He and other state officials targeted Disney’s special tax district in the state after the company spoke out last year against a controversial state bill that limited classroom discussion of LGBTQ+ issues, dubbed “Don’t Say Gay.”

Disney sued DeSantis in response, saying he had illegally retaliated against the government.

He argued Friday that it is “outrageous” for companies to get involved in education matters.

“It was an important fight to have and we won the fight decisively,” DeSantis said.

“But I would also point out, Disney had an obnoxious set of corporate welfare benefits. That is not good policy.”

DeSantis also said he would take a page out of President Joe Biden’s book and use the budget reconciliation process to pass his agenda, noting Biden used it to pass key legislative wins.

“Biden used that to do his agenda,” DeSantis said.

“We’re going to use that for our agenda. So, we’re not just out there flailing around, we’ve got a plan to get this stuff done.”