Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ latest attempt to mark himself as a more viable GOP presidential candidate than Donald Trump without actually criticizing the former president is going about as well as expected.
On Saturday, while DeSantis was in Iowa, he referred to the Republican Party’s recent woes at the ballot box as “a culture of losing that has impacted our party in recent years.”
Although DeSantis also claimed that “the time for excuses is over,” and that the party “can’t focus the election on the past or on other side issues,” he didn’t specifically mention the one reason the party is focusing on those issues: the 2020 election-denying former president.
Still, he seemed to like that “culture of losing” phrase so much that he used it again on Monday during a press conference in Florida, when a reporter asked him to acknowledge that Trump lost and there was no election fraud.
AlterNet notes that the main point of the press conference was to express support for state legislation that would limit or ban spending by state colleges on programs related to race and diversity. And DeSantis also wanted to tell prospective college students who might want to pursue degrees he dislikes to leave the Sunshine State, such as if they want “to do things like gender ideology.”
But while DeSantis had no problem calling out young college students exploring career goals, he was reluctant to call out Trump, saying only, “I think the party has developed a culture of losing.”
DeSantis hasn’t officially declared his candidacy for 2024, but his ongoing reluctance to criticize Trump made him the subject of Twitter mockery on Monday.