His attacks on DeSantis were especially harsh, portraying his run as a betrayal. Trump vividly described how DeSantis pleaded for his endorsement while running for governor at practically every rally. (DeSantis relied so heavily on Trump in 2018 that his campaign released an ad showing him building a toy border wall and teaching his child to read with a Trump sign.)
Trump's campaign, super PAC, and friends also criticized the governor's uncomfortable contacts, eating habits, and footwear. Some were personally invested since they had worked for the past governor, some with negative experiences, providing them unique insight into the candidate's shortcomings.
Trump proceeded to taunt “Ron DeSanctimonious” (or “DeSanctus”) even after the governor had fallen in the polls, like a lion dragging its victim. Weary of alienating Trump supporters, DeSantis generally avoided hitting Trump and concentrated on Haley, his main contender for second place. Trump's assaults worked in selected states. A CNN/University of New Hampshire poll released earlier this month indicated that only 3 in 10 GOP primary voters in New Hampshire liked DeSantis, down from 44% in September
National polls are much better. An ABC News/Ipsos poll following the Iowa caucuses revealed 64% of Republicans like him, as did a majority in a December AP-NORC poll. DeSantis will return to his governorship in Florida with a Republican supermajority in the legislature to assist him gain legislative victories on Republican priorities.
Allies believe DeSantis improved as a candidate, becoming more comfortable in the national spotlight. It was too late to preserve his weak 2024 campaign. However, disloyalty allegations appear to resonate.
Melissa Davis, 56, a Windsor Heights, Iowa, small business owner and Trump caucus captain and volunteer, was disappointed in DeSantis after liking his record in Florida. “I was a DeSantis fan, admittedly, until he ran against my president,” she remarked. “DeSantis betrayed my president. Thus, I would never vote for him again.
It's sad because I thought he was on our team," she remarked. This is disheartening because he might knife you in the back. He's a traitor to our great president who elected him. What will my president do to me? No vote for DeSantis.” Some also didn't like DeSantis's endorsement of Trump after he dropped out.
Edward X. Young, arriving from New Jersey for his 69th Trump rally in Rochester, New Hampshire, called the effort “too little, too late.” Trump supporters like him claimed DeSantis “permanently tainted his image in our eyes.” Me and my pals used to idolize DeSantis. I bought a Trump-DeSantis flag. I'll never fly it again, said Young.
Jacob Morgan, 34, arrived in New Hampshire with friends from upstate New York to volunteer for Trump. He sees DeSantis as a more “polished Trump” with a bright future. "I think he's done well in Florida," Morgan remarked. "If Trump were absent, he would be the guy."
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