In 2018, then-Rep. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) ran for governor against former Democratic Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum. At the time, Gillum was a rising star in the Democratic Party who some compared to former President Barack Obama. Ultimately, DeSantis won the election narrowly, 49.6% to 49.2%.
Now that Governor DeSantis is riding sky-high after defeating Democratic gubernatorial candidate Charlie Crist by just under 20 points, former President Donald Trump appears to be attempting to blunt any presidential aspirations by the popular politician. Trump criticized “Ron DeSanctimonious” days after the midterms and made other 2018 election claims.
His statements caught the attention of Gillum, who is facing prosecution for exploits during the campaign. The disgraced Democrat is now trying to get the charges against him dropped.
Gillum Demands Prosecutors Drop Charges After Trump Statement
On Thursday, November 10, the former commander-in-chief released a statement taking credit for DeSantis’ 2018 victory over Gillum. The former president alleged he helped “fix” the election after it fell apart by getting the feds to intervene as voters were stolen in Broward County.
In June, prosecutors indicted Gillum for allegedly soliciting and pocketing donations illegally and making false statements to federal law officials. The allegations go as far back as his time as the Tallahassee mayor and include corruption around donations made to the gubernatorial campaign. Now, his attorneys are asking the court to drop the charges.
Gillum’s attorneys argue that Trump’s statement supports their request for a hearing to determine if the government prosecuted him because he’s a black person and seeks dismissal of all charges. They contended the former president’s statement raised significant questions regarding how he “fixed” the Republican’s campaign and what he may have told the FBI and US Attorney’s office to do — and if there is a connection to his prosecution.
Trump Alleged He Stopped Corruption
In his post, allegedly in an attempt to thwart a potential DeSantis run for president, Trump said officials were stealing the election through a corrupt process in Broward County after voters cast ballots in 2018. He claimed the governor was losing ten thousand votes every day and that the corrupt process needed to end.
Broward County election officials denied the charge and said there was no evidence federal officials were ever present in 2018, nor was there any proof to substantiate claims of corruption.
In April 2020, Broward County Auditor Robert Melton released a 79-page report that said the election was “not efficiently and effectively conducted.” Still, FactCheck.org noted the report did not indicate federal officials were involved and didn’t suggest the problems amounted to fraud.
So, is Trump already in presidential campaign mode despite not formally announcing he intends to run for president in 2024? Will DeSantis take him on in a primary race?