Former President Donald Trump and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on Thursday escalated their ongoing feud at dueling campaign events in Iowa and New Hampshire amid DeSantis’ first campaign swing as a declared 2024 candidate.
Trump pushed back on DeSantis’ claim that it would require two presidential terms to carry out an effective and lasting conservative agenda as the Florida governor tried to seize on the potential vulnerability that Trump could only serve one term if reelected.
“When he says eight years, every time I hear it I wince because I say, if it takes eight years to turn this around, then you don’t want him. You don’t want him as your president,” Trump said at a campaign event in Urbandale, Iowa.
“You don’t need eight years, you need six months,” Trump said. “Who the hell wants to wait eight years?”
When a reporter in New Hampshire then asked DeSantis about Trump arguing he could accomplish his priorities in six months, the Florida governor quipped, “Why didn’t he do it his first four years?”
At a campaign stop in Rochester, New Hampshire, DeSantis argued if a president only served one term, “Everything would get reversed, the bureaucrats would wait you out.”
In another veiled shot at DeSantis, Trump on Thursday made a point to tell the crowd gathered that he would take a few questions from attendees.
“When we’re finished, we’ll take a couple of questions, and we’ll do that because I see these politicians they all don’t want to take questions, you know. They walk in, they make, they read a speech, see here’s my speech that I’m supposed to be reading,” Trump said as he held up a paper copy of his remarks.
Trump’s comments came after DeSantis lashed out at a reporter from the Associated Press who asked him why he wasn’t taking questions from voters.
“They’re coming up to me talking to me, what are you talking about? I’m out here… with people, are you blind?” DeSantis said at the event on Thursday in New Hampshire as he took photos with voters.
DeSantis hasn’t been taking questions from the podium from attendees at his campaign events since he kicked off his campaigning this week.
As Trump held back-to-back campaign events in Iowa on Thursday, buses and billboards from the DeSantis-aligned super political action committee Never Back Down were in the parking lot at at least two of his events. At one Trump event a member of the super PAC was handing out fliers to attendees criticizing Trump for suggesting the six-week abortion ban DeSantis signed into law in Florida was “too harsh.”