A new video from Ron DeSantis' campaign hints at national ambitions for the Florida governor—to the ire of Donald Trump, who's expected to announce his presidential campaign this month. Shared Friday on Twitter by DeSantis' wife, Casey DeSantis, "the 96-second video invokes God 10 times and suggests that Mr. DeSantis was sent by a divine power," reports the New York Times. "God made a fighter," a narrator repeats over black-and-white images of the Republican. "God said I need someone to be strong, advocate truth in the midst of hysteria, someone who challenges conventional wisdom and isn't afraid to defend what he knows to be right and just," continues the video, viewed at least 2.6 million times on Twitter.
The video speaks directly to Trump's core base of Christian nationalists, writes Greg Sargent at the Washington Post. Trump appeared to respond by introducing a new nickname for DeSantis at a rally for Pennsylvania Senate candidate Mehmet Oz on Saturday. As a screen showed what Trump said were approval ratings for the Republican 2024 nomination, the former president claimed to hold 71% support in one poll. "Ron DeSanctimonious at 10%," he added. Brett Samuels at the Hill calls it Trump's "most direct swipe at DeSantis to date," though he "dialed back the rhetoric after it received a lukewarm reception, urging Floridians on Sunday to vote for DeSantis on Tuesday." A former Trump campaign adviser described it as a "petty" insult so close to the midterms.
At the Guardian, Richard Luscombe argues "the simmering animosity" between Trump and DeSantis is likely to "evolve into open warfare" following the midterms, when Trump's plan will be revealed. DeSantis, who attracts many Republicans eager to move on from Trump, also seems focused on 2024, though he's reportedly told donors that he may wait to run for president in 2028, when Trump is out of the picture. Tuesday's results could bolster one or both men. "For Trump, wins for his hand-picked Senate candidates in Arizona, Ohio, Georgia, and Pennsylvania could strengthen his grip on the GOP," writes Samuels. "DeSantis, meanwhile, could win his reelection contest handily and tout GOP gains in Congress in Florida as a result of his leadership of the state." (Read more Ron DeSantis stories.)