Donald Trump has ramped up his attacks on Ron DeSantis, suggesting his rival may face unfounded allegations from “a woman, even classmates that are ‘underage’ (or possibly a man!)”.
As he prepared for potential arrest over hush money payments to a porn star, Mr Trump said the Florida governor would also one day be “unfairly and illegally attacked” by accusers.
The former president’s comments came after Mr DeSantis, his main competitor for the 2024 Republican nomination, waited two days to respond to the news that Mr Trump may be arrested.
When he broke his silence, Mr DeSantis said prosecuting Mr Trump would be “fundamentally wrong”.
However, the governor also needled Mr Trump, saying he personally “couldn’t speak to” what “goes into paying hush money to a porn star”.
Mr Trump responded by posting on Truth Social a photograph purportedly of a youthful Mr DeSantis with three young women, one of them holding a bottle of beer.
He wrote: “Ron DeSanctimonious will probably find out about FALSE ACCUSATIONS & FAKE STORIES sometime in the future, as he gets older, wiser, and better known, when he’s unfairly and illegally attacked by a woman, even classmates that are ‘underage’ (or possibly a man!).
“I’m sure he will want to fight these misfits just like I do!”
The photograph of Mr DeSantis and the young women, whose faces are blurred, was first posted on a blog in 2021.
It is reportedly from when Mr DeSantis was a high school teacher over two decades ago.
Mr Trump first posted his comments and then deleted them, leading some observers to conclude that the former president may have felt he had gone too far.
However, Mr Trump then reposted the comments, adding the photograph that he first highlighted last month.
At that time, Mr DeSantis responded that he did not intend to engage in “smearing other Republicans”.
His spokeswoman called it a “frivolous” and “politically motivated” attack by Mr Trump.
On Tuesday, allies of Mr Trump accused the Florida governor of taking a “cheap shot” by saying he “couldn’t speak to” the idea of paying a porn star.
But an ally of Mr DeSantis said: “The fact that Trump is going after DeSantis, and no one else, betrays who he’s most worried about.”
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