New York Times Reporter Claims In Book That Trump Called Florida Governor DeSantis ‘Fat, Phony And Whiny’

Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP

(Washington Examiner) Former President Donald Trump offered a stunning rebuke of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis as polls show the latter posing a significant obstacle to the former’s 2024 plans.

Trump shared his opinions about his former ally to New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman, whom he spoke to in an on the record capacity three times as part of the research for her new book: Confidence Man: The Making of Donald Trump and the Breaking of America. Haberman shared details of those conversations in an article for The Atlantic published Sunday, in which the former president claimed credit for DeSantis winning the GOP gubernatorial nomination back in 2018.

The 45th president called Florida governor “fat,” “phony,” and “whiny” when Haberman asked about him during a meeting late this summer at the Trump National Golf Club Bedminster in New Jersey. It is not clear if Trump offers additional disparaging remarks about DeSantis that are documented in the book and not the Atlantic article.

Donald Trump, Ron DeSantis
President Donald Trump talks to Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, left, during a visit to Lake Okeechobee and Herbert Hoover Dike at Canal Point, Fla., Friday, March 29, 2019. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)
Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP

Trump’s comments were made around the same time as news emerged that DeSantis had raised more money since January of last year than himself or President Joe Biden. News of DeSantis’s impressive haul was confirmed by Open Secrets, which analyzed the fundraising efforts of the top 20 presidential contenders. DeSantis raised $177.4 million for his reelection campaign as of Sept. 9, a national record for gubernatorial campaigns.

In addition to fundraising, DeSantis also leads the former president by an impressive eight points in a USA Today/Suffolk University poll asking how Florida Republican registered voters would vote in a hypothetical primary against the two. That poll is far from an outlier, with numerous others in the last year having similar results.

Between the polling and fundraising numbers, party operatives and voters alike have speculated that the Florida governor is laying the groundwork for a 2024 presidential bid. If accurate, that would place him at odds with Trump, who is widely understood to be preparing to launch his 2024 candidacy after the November midterms.

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