Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has gone after President Joe Biden again, referring to the president as “the American Nero” on Friday.
DeSantis made the remark during a Friday interview, a day after Biden delivered his “soul of the nation” address on Thursday in which he portrayed “MAGA forces,” led by former President Donald Trump and his allies, as trying to take the United States backward. The Florida governor described the Thursday address as “one of the most disgusting speeches” ever given by a U.S. president and that while Biden ran as being a unifier in his 2020 campaign, the president was now indicating “to the vast majority” of his critics that they were a threat, DeSantis told Fox News.
“He is the American Nero,” DeSantis said. “He’s a failed leader, and I think that he is doing this because he’s trying to energize his base to fend off a real butt-whooping this November.”
The White House had stressed that Biden’s address would be optimistic and not political. During his remarks, however, he encouraged voters to rally against Trump-supporting Republicans and said they must safeguard America by casting their ballots for Democrats in the November midterm elections.
“MAGA Republicans do not respect the Constitution,” he added. “They do not believe in the rule of law. They do not recognize the will of the people. They refuse to accept the results of a free election.”
On Wednesday, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre criticized five Republicans by name in discussing Biden’s speech, with DeSantis being one of the Republicans carrying out “attacks on our core values as a country.” Other GOP members specified by Jean-Pierre included Trump and Reps. Paul Gosar (R-AZ), Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA), and Madison Cawthorn (R-NC).
Both Trump and DeSantis are seen by many among the GOP to be strong contenders for the party’s nomination in the 2024 election. A poll from YouGov found that DeSantis stacked up better against President Joe Biden in a speculative matchup for the 2024 general election than Trump, though Biden edges both of them out within the margin of error.