In a recent war of words, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy took shots at each other, highlighting the divide within the Republican Party.
The feud began when Politico reported that DeSantis, a founding member of the House Freedom Caucus, had told Republican members that he had their backs in their push for change. This was seen as a threat to shut down the government if conservative agenda items were not met.
McCarthy responded with his own criticism of DeSantis during an interview with Maria Bartiromo on Sunday. He stated that “he’s not at the same level as President Trump by any shape or form,” and that DeSantis would not have gotten elected without Trump’s endorsement.
Dismissing the threat of a government shutdown, McCarthy said it would only give strength to the Democrats and paychecks would not go to essential workers like troops and border agents.
During a press conference on Monday, a reporter asked DeSantis for his response to McCarthy’s comment. In response, the governor laughed and pointed out that Trump had actively supported McCarthy during his bid for the Speaker’s gavel, which McCarthy narrowly won after 15 rounds of voting. He also noted that they had worked closely together during Trump’s presidency, adding $7.8 trillion to the national debt.
However, DeSantis reminded reporters that his administration in Florida had run budget surpluses, paid down state debt, and achieved the number one-rated economy in the country. He also pointed out that he has delivered on his promises, including cutting taxes and expanding school choice.
DeSantis’ criticism of McCarthy and the D.C. establishment did not stop there. He pointed out that Florida was instrumental in helping Republicans win the majority in 2022, but that they still have not delivered on their promises to the state. He also highlighted his push to redraw the congressional map in Florida, which helped secure an extra four seats for Republicans.
Kevin McCarthy says I’m a little different from Donald Trump. I agree.
In Florida, we run budget surpluses. We’ve paid down our debt. I’ve kept every one of my promises.
Meanwhile, McCarthy and Trump worked together to add $7 trillion — more debt than our country racked up in… pic.twitter.com/TqZih4t8U8
— Ron DeSantis (@RonDeSantis) September 18, 2023
The governor concluded by saying, “I’m not somebody who’s ever gonna be the favorite of the D.C. establishment. And you know what? I wear that as a badge of honor.”
DeSantis’ remarks were met with applause from his supporters. He posted a video of the exchange on his social media, emphasizing his accomplishments and the differences between him and Trump and McCarthy. He stated that while it may be understandable that the D.C. establishment does not want him to be president, he wears that as a badge of honor.
This public spat between two prominent Republicans highlights the ongoing struggle within the party, as they try to navigate the post-Trump era. With the 2022 midterm elections approaching, it remains to be seen how this feud will affect the party’s unity and its chances of regaining control of Congress.