Former President Donald Trump on Saturday said he wouldn’t use the nickname “Meatball Ron” to describe Ron DeSantis, a likely rival for the Republican presidential nomination in 2024.
It has been noted that the first exchange between Trump and DeSantis came during the latter’s 2012 run for Congress. Longtime Trump associate Roger Stone drafted a tweet sent out by Trump that praised DeSantis as “very impressive,” according to a person with knowledge of the situation.
Trump at that time was starting to raise his profile in Republican politics by hawking false conspiracy theories about President Barack Obama’s birth certificate. DeSantis’s Yale roommate, Nick Sinatra, had worked on a 2010 campaign with Stone and was responsible for putting DeSantis on Stone’s radar.
By the time Trump launched his first run for president in 2015, DeSantis joined many other elected Republicans in expressing skepticism of him.
“A lot of people look at this with Donald Trump and they say ‘What’s going on?’” DeSantis said in a 2015 news conference. “I think a lot of Republicans say, ‘Look, the guy’s not conservative, he’s got all these liberal positions, weird positions, how can these people be supporting him?’ And I disagree with a lot of his positions.”
In speeches to local Republican groups that year, DeSantis joked about Trump refusing to name his favorite Bible verse and vowing to make Mexico pay for a wall on the southern border, according to recordings obtained by The Post. If Trump had created the world, DeSantis quipped in one recorded speech, “He’d have done it in half the time at half the cost, and he would have had Satan pay for it.”