Donald Trump loves his nicknames. Sometimes they’re even funny, in a mean-spirited way. So when the former president debuted his taunt for one of his likely 2024 rivals, Ron DeSantis — i.e., “Ron DeSanctimonious” — it couldn’t but feel like a misfire. He could do better. And now he reportedly has.
A new report from The New York Times looks at DeSantis’ attempts to avoid getting into direct tussles with a famed bully, who always emerges from scrapes looking stronger. What would he do if/when he had to duke it out on stage with Trump? Would he freeze up, like he did when Charlie Crist called him out for refusing to say he wouldn’t ditch his governor duties to run for president? Could he even hope to return fire?
So far DeSantis has managed to evade Trump’s taunts, if just barely. In the meantime, sources say Trump has come up with some new nicknames. One is “Shutdown Ron,” alluding to him enacting COVID restrictions in the early days of the pandemic. DeSantis infamously ditched such efforts earlier than most, so it’s not much of a dig. Better, though also meaner, is this one: “Meatball Ron,” an apparent dig at DeSantis’ figure.
Not that Trump’s in much better shape. But it may not matter. He’s always been able to get away with saying whatever he wants despite the facts or hypocrisy. He’s still claiming an election he lost was stolen, without a shred of evidence, over two years later. Then again, the majority of Republicans may have moved on from juvenile taunts and will go with the more sensible maniac. Or maybe they won’t.