• Trump denied a report that he has nicknamed Ron DeSantis "Meatball Ron."
  • Trump said that despite his criticisms of DeSantis, the nickname would be "totally inappropriate."
  • "Meatball" could be construed as a slur against his Italian-American heritage, say reports.

Former President Donald Trump denied a report that he has nicknamed Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis "Meatball Ron."

"I will never call Ron DeSanctimonious "Meatball" Ron, as the Fake News is insisting I will," Trump wrote on Truth Social on Saturday.

While listing his various criticisms of DeSantis, Trump said, "it would be totally inappropriate to use the word "meatball" as a moniker for Ron!"

Among his criticisms were that DeSantis is friendly with Republicans Paul Ryan and Jeb Bush and that he implemented various COVID-19 measures in Florida. 

"FoxNews killing lightweight Paul Ryan is revered by him, Low Energy Jeb Bush is his hero and always at his side, his beaches and State were closed for long periods of time, his testing, testing, testing for the China Virus didn't work out too well, and his loyalty skills are really weak," Trump said.

Trump said that despite this, he will not be calling the governor "Meatball Ron."

The former president, known to give his political rivals pejorative nicknames, has used the nickname Ron DeSanctimonious in public.

The New York Times reported last week that Trump was trialing various nicknames for DeSantis, including "Meatball Ron," which the paper said he has used in private conversations as a jab at the Florida governor's appearance.

Other news outlets have suggested it could be construed as an ethnic slur against his Italian-American heritage.

Trump announced his plans to run for president in 2024 in November. Although DeSantis has not yet confirmed whether he plans to seek the Republican nomination, he has emerged as Trump's fiercest political rival.

Trump has repeatedly claimed credit for DeSantis' political success, called him an "average" governor, and said he is "disloyal" even to consider running against him.

DeSantis has largely refrained from hitting back at Trump and told people to "chill out" about the prospect of a GOP civil war between them in November.

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