Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said he can’t spell “sanctimonious” like he used to President Donald Trump has taken to calling his potential opponent “Ron DeSanctimonious.”
Mr. DeSantis is widely expected to announce his challenge to the former president for the Republican nomination in 2024. That has prompted Mr. Trump to lash out at the Florida governor, whom he previously endorsed in 2018.
Trump, in turn, has given Mr. DeSantis the moniker “Ron DeSanctimonious.” But in an interview with Piers Morgan, DeSantis brushed off the epithet.
“I don’t know how to spell the saint,” he said. “I don’t really know what it means, but I like it, it’s long, it has a lot of vowels.”
Mr. DeSantis has become a favorite among many conservatives, especially since his re-election, which he won by nearly 20 points.
“We’ll go with it, that’s fine,” he said. “I mean you can call me whatever you want, just as long as you also call me a winner because that’s what we’ve been able to do in Florida is put a lot of points on the board and really take this state to the next level.”
Mr. DeSantis also said he did not believe Trump had an upright moral compass.
“At the end of the day as a leader,” he said. “You really want to look to people like our founders, like what kind of character, that’s not to say you never make a mistake in your personal life, but I think what kind of character do you bring with you?”
The words come as the former president faces a potential indictment by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg for paying adult film actress Stormy Daniels to keep quiet about an affair, which Trump denies.
Earlier this week, Mr. DeSantis deflected when asked what action, if any, he would take to avoid extradition for the former president, who lives in Palm Beach.
“Look, I don’t know what goes into paying hush money to a porn star to keep quiet about some kind of alleged affair. I can’t talk about that,” he said.
That infuriated many conservatives who support Trump. Mr. DeSantis is widely expected to announce his candidacy in the summer after Florida’s legislative session ends.