It was obvious that Donald Trump didn’t care for Ron DeSantis even before the former president scheduled a pre-midterms rally in Florida and didn’t invite the governor, who’s up for reelection. But during another rally in Latrobe, Pennsylvania, on Saturday, Trump eliminated any doubt about his feelings on DeSantis when he soft-launched a derogatory nickname, referring to him as “Ron DeSanctimonious” while describing a poll of potential 2024 candidates.
“There it is: Trump at 71. Ron DeSanctimonious at 10 percent,” Trump said. “Mike Pence at seven — oh, Mike’s doing better than I thought.”
The former president didn’t repeat the attack, suggesting at Sunday night’s Florida rally that he wanted Republicans to reelect DeSantis (though Trump’s lone reference to him, “You’re going to reelect Ron DeSantis as your governor,” could be interpreted as a statement of fact, not encouragement).
Nevertheless, prominent Republicans let it be known that they aren’t thrilled about Trump attacking one of their biggest rising stars just before Election Day.
“Low-Energy Jeb,” “Lyin’ Ted,” and “Liddle Marco,” might disagree about the power of Trump’s nicknames, but I think Matt Walsh has a point. Trump has been off his nickname game for some time, and “Ron DeSanctimonious” is certainly an improvement on recent head-scratchers like Letitia “Peekaboo” James, Mitch “Broken Old Crow” McConnell, and Elaine “Coco” Chao. But “DeSanctimonious” feels a little too workshopped … possibly because it was literally workshopped. The New York Times reports:
Mr. Trump has been privately testing derisive nicknames for Mr. DeSantis with his friends and advisers, including the put-down he used on Saturday. Roger Stone, a longtime Trump adviser, appeared to test-drive the nickname for the former president on Oct. 27 when he used it in a post on Mr. Trump’s social media website, Truth Social.
Trump settled on the new nickname on Friday, according to the Times, after DeSantis’s wife tweeted a laughably over-the-top video that suggests the governor was literally sent by God to bully teens, harass migrants, and protect children from life-saving vaccines.
This particular video certainly makes a show of being morally superior to other people, but sanctimony generally isn’t the top term that springs to mind when one thinks of DeSantis (that’s more Pence’s vibe). Plus the moniker doesn’t feel authentically Trump; when he tweeted an attack on “Sanctimonious James Comey” back in March 2018, it set off a Twitter debate over whether the then-president actually came up with the SAT-word insult himself.
If Trump can’t do better than “Ron DeSanctimonious,” he really needs to get out of the nickname game. Ron (as Don should know) rhymes with both con and moron. DeSantis could go in so many directions: DeSperate, DeSpised, DeSpicable, DeSerter, DeSpoiler, DeSpotic. Maybe DeSandwich — if Trump wants to keep mocking the governor’s weight? And Trump shouldn’t feel restrained by the easy adaptability of “Ron DeSantis.” Past nickname hits like “Lyin,’” “Liddle,” “Crooked,” and “Rocket Man” had nothing to do with the subject’s actual name.
I don’t know the perfect nickname for Ron DeSantis, but I didn’t use my talent for bestowing nasty nicknames to clear the 2016 GOP presidential field. All I’m saying is that if we have to live in a world where our political future is determined, in part, by one semi-fascist Florida Man’s ability to effectively insult another semi-fascist Florida Man, the least they can do is give us some truly inspired and amusing insults.
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