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Trump takes aim at DeSantis with 'Ron De-Sanctimonious' nickname

Republicans have signaled Trump and DeSantis as their top two choices for a 2024 presidential run.

LATROBE, Pa. — Former President Donald Trump fueled ongoing rumors of a 2024 presidential run against Gov. Ron DeSantis by referring to the governor as "Ron De-Sanctimonious" at a rally this weekend. 

Trump dropped the new moniker while stumping for fellow former reality star Dr. Mehmet Oz on Saturday in Pennsylvania. 

"Trump at 71, Ron De-Sanctimonious at 10%, Mike Pence at 7— oh, Mike's doing better than I thought," the former president said on stage while reading the results of a straw poll.

Trump endorsed DeSantis during his run for governor in 2018, which was seen as significant given then-Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam was expected to come out on top as Republicans' top choice. Since then, the relationship between Trump and DeSantis has appeared to cool with the Florida governor himself rising the ranks among conservative voters.

RELATED: Trump 2024: Former president eyes third White House run despite investigations

Neither Trump nor DeSantis has announced a 2024 bid for the White House, though Trump has been dropping hints at campaign events across the country. 

Over the weekend in Miami-Dade County, Trump campaigned for Republican Sen. Marco Rubio — a man he dubbed "Little Marco" during the 2016 presidential election when the two were vying for the GOP nomination.

Meanwhile, DeSantis was holding a separate campaign event in Sun City Center to appeal to voters before facing off against Democratic challenger Charlie Crist on Election Day. 

Trump has not endorsed DeSantis as he did in 2017 during DeSantis' first run for office. Politico earlier this year reported DeSantis declined to ask Trump — he doesn't need to if polling is any indication. 

RELATED: This Week in Politics: DeSantis, Trump 2024 rumors; Importance of I-4 Corridor voters in midterm

"It's setting up all the chatter about Trump vs. DeSantis going into the GOP primary for the presidency. Rubio is going along with it. I think Rick Scott is going along with it, so it's going to be very interesting that Ron DeSantis isn't going to be on stage with Donald Trump,” Peter Schorsch, publisher of Florida Politics, said last week.

In a straw poll conducted at the Conservative Political Action Conference in February, Republicans signaled Trump as their top choice for the White House in 2024 and DeSantis as No. 2.

RELATED: Is Florida still a swing state? Tuesday's election could tell us a lot

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