Trump going after DeSantis was 'a mistake,' WSJ's Bill McGurn says

WSJ editorial board member says Trump mocking Ron ‘DeSanctimonious’ not funny or catchy

A major misstep during a campaign rally last week could be damaging for former President Donald Trump, according to The Wall Street Journal editorial board member Bill McGurn.

"I think this was a mistake, and I think Donald Trump admitted it's a mistake by not repeating it," McGurn said on "Varney & Co." Tuesday in response to Stuart Varney asking whether mocking Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis it's "good or bad" for Trump.

McGurn continued, "he said it Saturday in Pennsylvania at a rally for Dr. Oz and Mr. Mastriano, but he didn't repeat it the next day in Florida, and I think he realized he really misfired."

President Trump showed signs of growing tension between the two conservatives on Saturday, as DeSantis has been favored to be a potential presidential challenger in 2024.

"We’re winning big in the Republican Party for the nomination like nobody’s ever seen before," Trump told a crowd in Latrobe, Pennsylvania. "There it is, Trump at 71%, Ron DeSanctimonious at 10%."

McGurn roasted Trump’s commentary, arguing that it was a "bad nickname" and neither catchy nor that funny.


"I think a lot of his own followers were kind of disappointed that he applied it to the most successful Republican governor in the country," McGurn said.

Donald Trump next to Ron DeSantis

Former President Donald Trump calling the Florida governor Ron "DeSanctimonious" was a "mistake," Wall Street Journal editorial board member Bill McGurn said on "Mornings with Maria" Tuesday, November 8, 2022. (Getty Images)

Fox News contributor and New York Post columnist Karol Markowicz also expressed similar sentiments about Trump’s commentary, telling host Stuart Varney on Monday that Floridians are "really mad" at the former president.

"It's interesting because I think both men are pretty well-liked in the conservative movement. But I've heard that so many people, since that comment, say that they really didn't like that Trump did that," Markowicz noted.

The columnist believes many of her fellow Florida constituents feel the president should have waited until after the midterms to come after his potential 2024 Republican opponent.

"This was a few days before the gubernatorial election in Florida. And even Trump super-fans were really mad about this that I spoke to," Markowicz said. "They just really didn't like it. Like, wait till this election's over and then go after each other. That would be fair."

Ron DeSantis speaks at campaign rally

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis speaks during a "Unite and Win" event as he campaigns for re-electionon the eve of the U.S. midterm elections, at Hialeah Park Clubhouse, in Hialeah, Florida, on November 7, 2022. (Getty Images)

Though Trump nor DeSantis have officially confirmed 2024 presidential bids, Trump indicated at a rally Monday night that he’s making a "big announcement" on November 15.

"He's a master showman. He's good at teases," McGurn said of the former president. "Maybe he figures it's a way to avoid the federal indictment that looks like it's coming down. So I just don't know what he's going to do. I think it's unlikely that he rules out a run because then people stop paying attention to him."


While Markowicz has heard and seen "a ton of enthusiasm" for DeSantis’ political future, McGurn noted Trump is still managing to stay politically alive.

"All of those guys do understand that," McGurn said, "they all tease and let people think they're running and that's the way they stay alive politically."


Fox News’ Andrew Mark Miller contributed to this report.