Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) took subtle shots at former President Donald Trump on Saturday during a trip to Iowa, the Arkansas Democrat Gazette reports.
Trump, of course, has already announced his candidacy for the presidency and has been vigorously campaigning.
DeSantis, on the other hand, has certainly been acting like a presidential candidate, but he has yet to officially announce his candidacy. The announcement, though, is expected any day now.
Polling has consistently indicated that Trump and DeSantis are the two clear favorites to win the Republican Party's presidential nomination for 2024. That being said, polling has also indicated that DeSantis has been losing ground to Trump and that Trump, on average, is ahead of DeSantis by over 31 percentage points. In other words, at the moment, Trump is the Republicans' clear frontrunner.
During his stop at the Sioux Center in Iowa on Saturday, DeSantis made some remarks in which he, indirectly, took several shots at Trump.
"We must reject the culture of losing that has infected our party in recent years," DeSantis said. "If we get distracted, if we focus the election on the past or on other side issues, then I think the Democrats are going to beat us again, and I think it’ll be very difficult to recover from that defeat."
DeSantis also said, "Governing is not about entertaining. Governing is not about building a brand or talking on social media and virtue signaling. It's ultimately about winning and producing results."
It's clear that DeSantis had to have Trump in mind with at least some of these comments.
But, as has been his strategy thus far, DeSantis refrained from directly attacking Trump.
As the reader will likely know, Trump has not refrained from directly attacking DeSantis. A brief scroll through Trump's social media account makes this more than clear.
Trump was supposed to hold his own campaign event in Iowa on Saturday setting up a Trump versus DeSantis matchup. But, Trump had to cancel due to inclement weather.
"Unfortunately, due to the Tornado Warnings in Des Moines, we are forced to cancel today’s outdoor Rally at the Lauridsen Amphitheater. Stay tuned, we will reschedule soon. Be safe out there!" Trump told his followers.
So, Saturday ended up being a bit anticlimactic: Rather than Trump versus DeSantis, DeSantis ended up having the state all to himself.
Still, it's clear by DeSantis's remarks that the rivalry is building and that things are likely to be explosive by the time the real head-to-head matchups take place.