DeSantis slights Trump during 2024 Iowa campaign kickoff: ‘Not about entertainment’

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Republican presidential candidate and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis kicked off his campaign in Iowa on Tuesday with his usual sharp rhetoric aimed at “woke” culture and the failures of President Biden, but he also included what appeared to be some thinly veiled slights at former President Donald Trump, his top opponent in the race.

“At the end of the day, leadership is not about entertainment, it’s not about building a brand, it’s not about virtue signaling. It is about results,” DeSantis told the crowd gathered for his first campaign speech as a presidential candidate after officially launching his campaign last week.

His words appeared to be a jab at Trump’s unconventional style and what some critics have claimed is him being entirely self-focused and self-gratifying.

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Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis

Florida Governor and 2024 Presidential hopeful Ron DeSantis waves as he arrives for his campaign kickoff event at Eternity Church in Clive, Iowa, on May 30, 2023. (ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP via Getty Images)

DeSantis also used the speech to rail against the nation’s “fiscal crisis,” a hot topic amid the ongoing effort to pass through Congress the debt ceiling agreement between Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy.

“D.C. doesn’t produce much of anything except mountains of debt and loads of hot air,” he later added.

DeSantis went on to tout his tenure as Florida’s governor, including standing up for “freedom” during the COVID-19 pandemic, signing into law pro-life protections for the unborn, tax relief, and legislation to stop ESG investment policies in the state.

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Former President Donald Trump

Former U.S. President Donald Trump speaks to the media during an election night event at Mar-a-Lago on November 08, 2022, in Palm Beach, Florida. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

He also vowed, if elected president, to take on China and stop what he called the “administrative state” from taking away America’s constitutional government.

Trump’s campaign responded to DeSantis’ speech by telling Fox News it “proves once again why President Trump is the leader of the Republican Party and is the only person who on Day One can fix the economy, secure our border, end the Russia-Ukraine war, fix the military, and stand up for law enforcement.” 

“Ron DeSantis is not a serious person who can take on Joe Biden and bring about the Great American Comeback. His poorly conceived speech was light on substance and was crafted to appease establishment Never Trumpers who are looking for a swamp puppet that will do their bidding,” Trump spokesperson Steven Cheung said.

Trump wearing a MAGA hat on the golf course, Ron DeSantis during campaign announcement

Former President Donald Trump and Florida Gov, Ron DeSantis are considered top candidates vying for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination.  (Getty Images )

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Caleb Alexander

Caleb Alexander

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