Former President Donald Trump renewed his attack on his likely rival for the Republican nomination, saying that Ron DeSantis would not be governor of Florida without his endorsement: He would be working in a cigar store or for a law firm.
‘Number one, he’s got no personality,’ he told a small group of reporters travelling with him back from Waco, Texas, to Palm Beach, Florida, on Saturday night.
‘That tends to be bad for a politician.
‘But in addition to personal flaws, I think he’s got a real problem with the fact that he wanted to destroy Social Security.’
Trump discussed a range of subjects aboard his private jet after holding the first rally of his campaign.
Former President Donald Trump renewed his attack on his likely rival for the Republican nomination, saying that Ron DeSantis would not be governor of Florida without his endorsement: He would be working in a cigar store or for a law firm
Donald Trump talks to reporters, including DailyMail.com, on his plane as he returned from Waco, Texas, on Saturday. He said he believed the Manhattan DA was dropping the case
He was in a relaxed mood as he claimed that that the Manhattan’s district attorney was dropping a criminal probe into a hush money payment to a porn star, a week after claiming he’d be arrested within days.
But he reserved particular scorn for DeSantis, who he said owed his career to Trump’s 2018 endorsement.
‘He wouldn’t be a governor. Right. You know where he be right now? Probably working either at a cigar store or a law firm,’ he said.
DeSantis emerged as a likely contender last year, as a string of donors said they were dropping Trump for the Florida governor.
His star only shone brighter when he won reelection in a landslide while Trump’s midterm picks faltered.
However, so far this year his poll numbers have been on the slide ahead of an expected campaign announcement. Much to Trump’s delight.
At his rally in Waco, Trump projected their latest poll numbers on to a big screen to demonstrate his commanding lead. And he once again told the exaggerated story of how Trump endorsed his gubernatorial run in 2018.
‘But I’m a loyalist and and when a man comes to me tears in his eyes, he’s had almost nothing in the polls,’ he told his rapt audience.
Trump showed his fans polling numbers giving him a 31-point lead over his likely rival for the Republican nomination in Waco, Texas, on Saturday evening
Trump used his rally to hit DeSantis, as well as condemn the investigations that have dogged him since becoming president in 2016. It was Trump’s first campaign rally of this cycle
The then congressman criticized the probe into Russian interference in the 2016 election, said Trump.
‘I said let’s give it a shot Ron,’ said the former president. ‘I endorsed him. he became like a rocket ship. Within one day the race was over.’
Meanwhile, Trump is full speed ahead on his campaign, using his plane to get to know key political reporters and starting a schedule of his trademark rallies.
He said feverish speculation about the Manhattan grand jury hearing evidence against him had had no impact on his political operation, and he said he believed prosecutors had no choice but to give up in the face of recent evidence.
‘I have no idea what’s going to happen…’ he said. ‘I think they’ve already dropped the case. From what I understand … I think it’s been dropped.
‘But I believe that if anything ever happened with the case, it’s a fake case.’
Trump shared his claim Alvin Bragg has dropped the case into him just a week after writing that he expected to be arrested within days
Earlier on Saturday, Trump told fans in Waco that Bragg had ‘nothing’ on him. He insists a $130,000 payment made to porn star Stormy Daniels weeks before the October 2016 election wasn’t a campaign finance violation. Trump also denies a 2006 one- night-stand with the performer.
It makes for a remarkable turnaround. Last Saturday he posted a message that he was expecting to be arrested on Tuesday and calling on supporters to protest.
But the day came and went. And a grand jury hearing evidence in New York did not sit on Wednesday or Thursday, sparking speculation in Trump world that Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg’s case was foundering.
Trump spent the days following his usual routine of heading to his West Palm Beach golf course, maintaining a picture of business as usual.
On Saturday evening, as he flew home from addressing what aides said was a crowd of 25,000 supporters in Waco, Texas, he scoffed at any idea that the probe had been a distraction.
‘I’m not frustrated by anything,’ he said in response to a question. ‘I just did a speech for two hours. I’m not first frustrated to do that.
‘I just had polls that came out where I’m 40 points ahead. See, this is what I hate about fake news.’
But he faces growing legal peril from a series of criminal investigations. The most immediate is related to an alleged hush-money payoff to Daniels during his 2016 White House campaign.
He was recently invited to give evidence to a Manhattan grand jury, a sure sign that it wrapping up its work and could be about to hand down an indictment.
‘The Biden regime’s weaponization of law enforcement against their political opponents is something straight out of the Stalinist Russia horror show,’ he said at Saturday’s Waco rally
Trump has always denied any relationship with adult movie star Stormy Daniels
A hush money payment to Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, is at the center of an investigation by the Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg
Trump painted the case as politically motivated, and has used it to raise money. New York’s former governor Andrew Cuomo – an avowed Democrat – said Saturday he thinks the case against Trump is political.
On Saturday, Trump said he was convinced that testimony from lawyer Robert Costello had thrown doubt on evidence given by his former fixer Michael Cohen, who said he made the payment and the was then reimbursed by Trump.
And he said the emergence of a letter by Cohen’s lawyer, stating in 2018 that Cohen had not been reimbursed, had destroyed the case against him.
‘Two of the most respected lawyers in the country, one wrote a letter about Cohen which made him want to be a liar,’ said Trump.
‘The other one did even more so he went before the grand jury and he explained that this guy was a liar.’
Trump has kept up a steady stream of attacks on Bragg. On Friday, he was accused of going to far when she shared a picture of himself wielding a baseball bat next to an image of the Manhattan prosecutor.
He also warned of ‘death’ and ‘destruction.’
But he told reporters traveling with him that violence was not the answer.
‘I don’t like violence and I’m not not for violence,’ he said. ‘But a lot of people are upset and you know they rigged an election, they stole an election, they spied on my campaign. They did many bad things. They did a fake dossier.’
He referenced the case during his 90-minute speech in Waco, along with other probes and investigations he has faced since winning the 2016 election.
Organizers said some 25,000 people turned out to see Donald Trump in Waco,Texas
Trump gives a half way to five traveling members of the press as he arrives to board his private jet at West Palm Beach International Airport for the flight to Waco, Texas
‘The Biden regime’s weaponization of law enforcement against their political opponents is something straight out of the Stalinist Russia horror show,’ he said.
‘From the beginning it’s been one witch hunt and phony investigation after another.’
His choice of location and timing triggered controversy even before his plane landed in Texas.
The rally comes amid the 30th anniversary of the Waco siege, a 51-day standoff that ended with a raid by federal agents on the Branch Davidians religious sect there that resulted in 86 deaths.
Since then, the area has become a magnet for far right groups.
The left-wing Houston Chronicle said the decision to host the event in Waco during the anniversary was much more than a dog-whistle message to far-right and conspiratorial Trump supporters.
‘The more apt metaphor is the blaring air horn of a Mack 18-wheeler barreling down I-10,’ the newspaper said in an editorial.
The former president took ‘Trump Force One’ from Palm Beach to Waco, Texas on Saturday
Trump shared this article that shows these pictures side by side: one of the ex-president with a baseball bat and another with Manhattan District Attorney looking frightened
Supporters gathered for a tailgate party on Friday in Waco ahead of Trump’s arrival
Photographers have staked out Trump’s 757 private jet at West Palm Beach International Airport for any sign that the former president is about to make the flight to New York, Instead it was readied on Saturday for the trip to Waco, Texas
Trump’s supporters have been out in force this week along the road leading from West Palm Beach to Palm Beach and the former president’s Florida home
The newspaper added that Waco had become ‘a shrine for the Proud Boys, the Three Percenters, the Oath Keepers and other anti-government extremists and conspiracists.’
The Trump campaign said the location was picked because of its position between big population centers of Dallas, Houston, San Antonio and Austin, and the infrastructure at the site.
But the siege metaphor is unlikely to be lost on supporters of Trump, who is expecting to be indicted by a grand jury in New York and faces three other major investigations.
Trump stoked excitement last weekend, posting a message saying that he expected to be arrested on Tuesday.
But the week came and went with the former president sticking to his regular routine of playing golf on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.