Donald Trump went on Truth Social on Saturday night to gloat over the ‘firing’ of a key member of staff working on rival Ron DeSantis‘ campaign.
Phil Cox had been seen as a core staffer during DeSantis’ 2022 gubernatorial reelection team and was among the campaign’s first hires.
Cox joined the team in March 2021 and served as the campaign’s top big picture consultant throughout the duration of DeSantis’ bid for governor.
More recently, he served as a senior adviser to the Never Back Down super PAC that supported the governor’s bid for his 2024 presidency run – but on Saturday night it appeared he was no longer with the DeSantis campaign.
Trump wasted no time in suggesting his departure was a sign of his rival’s failing campaign which officially launched on Wednesday.
Donald Trump (pictured arriving back in New York City on Saturday) gloated over the ‘firing’ of a key member of staff working on rival Ron DeSantis ‘ campaign.
Phil Cox held a crucial position within DeSantis’ team for his 2022 gubernatorial re-election campaign, being among the initial hires served as a primary consultant
Former President Trump took to Truth Social to delight in the reported departure of Cox, a key member of Republican rival Ron DeSantis’ campaign staff
‘Ron DeSanctimonious just fired, like on ‘The Apprentice,’ his friend and top campaign official, Phil Cox, because his campaign is a complete disaster, and 2028 is looking really bad,’ Trump began.
‘His campaign manager, who so deftly handled the Ted Cruz campaign against me, wanted to work for me, but was turned down – a ‘money grubber’ like no other, and won’t quit until he’s got every last penny. Now ‘Rob’ must change the theme of his campaign from NEVER BACK DOWN to WINNING ISN’T EVERYTHING!’ Trump wrote on Saturday night.
A reporter for Politico suggested Cox was in fact ‘stepping down’ rather than being fired – although the position at the Super PAC was a volunteer role and unpaid.
The timing of Cox’s departure comes only days after he was spotted playing on one of Trump’s golf courses.
Cox had joined DeSantis’ team in March 2021 and had served as the campaign’s top big picture consultant throughout the duration of his bid for Florida governor
Trump could be seen waving those gathered nearby Trump Tower
The former president was pictured walking into his residence in Trump Tower in Manhattan
Trump likes to occasionally bring up his Apprentice history and ‘You’re Fired’ catchphrase – seen here in 2006
Cox took part in an LIV Golf tournament at Trump National Golf Club in Sterling, Virginia, alongside Trump, himself.
His appearance follows news that the consulting group GP3, of which Cox is a partner, also recently secured a deal with the Saudi-financed LIV tour.
Sources told ABC News the business relationship between Cox and the LIV tournament had ruffled feathers among staffers close to DeSantis and likely played a role in his leaving the DeSantis fold.
‘I’m an unpaid, volunteer adviser to Never Back Down and proud to support Governor DeSantis,’ Cox reaffirmed in a statement to ABC News on Thursday.
Cox did not actually play alongside Trump and hit the links several hours after Trump’s own tee time.
His departure from the SuperPAC comes at the end of a week that saw DeSantis campaign launch being with beset disastrous tech problems.
The launch was due to take place on Wednesday at 6pm yet Twitter was unable to cope with the traffic, and the servers repeatedly crashed.
The event was initially delayed by half an hour with the audio frequently cutting out.
By 6:30pm, the audio was still down and DeSantis was yet to utter a single word.
The glitch was described as a ‘DeSaster’ and one of the most embarrassing campaign fiascos in memory.
Once things finally got underway by about 6:40pm, DeSantis took a swipe at the media, COVID public health mandates, and what he branded the ‘woke Olympics’ of the left.
He reinforced his hardline agenda on education and immigration – areas in which he has vowed to go further than Donald Trump had been able to.
‘We must end the culture of losing that has infected the Republican party in recent years,’ DeSantis said. ‘Government is not about entertainment, not about building a brand,’ he said in a veiled hit on Trump.
Cox’s departure coincided with his participation in an LIV Golf tournament at Trump National Golf Club in Virginia on Thursday at which Trump also played
Former President Donald Trump plays on the second green during the LIV Golf Pro-Am at Trump National Golf Club on Thursday in Sterling, Virginia
In his campaign video, DeSantis said he was running to ‘lead our great American comeback’ and pitched Florida as a model for the nation. ‘We proved it can be done,’ DeSantis said in a voiceover. ‘We chose facts over fear, education over indoctrination, law and order over rioting and disorder.’
On his Virginia golf course the following morning, Trump was ready to pounce.
‘Wow! The DeSanctus TWITTER launch is a DISASTER! His whole campaign will be a disaster. WATCH!’ Trump wrote on his Truth Social platform,’ he wrote.
By Thursday, DeSantis sought to push past the glitches outlining an aggressive travel schedule as his allies insisted they remain well funded and well positioned for a long Republican primary fight ahead.
While DeSantis supporters privately acknowledged the bungled announcement was an unwelcome distraction, there was a broad sense — even among some Republican critics — that it would likely have limited long-term political consequences, if any.
For the doubters, the campaign confirmed Thursday night that it had raised $8.2 million in the 24 hours since entering the race, a massive sum that far exceeded the amount raised by President Joe Biden over the same period.
Before Trump and DeSantis were leading rivals for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, they were allies.
Before Donald Trump and Ron DeSantis were leading rivals for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, they were allies
Trump, for the moment, still holds a commanding poll lead over DeSantis – and all other 2024 Republican challengers
Trump gave DeSantis’ gubernatorial bid an early boost by tweeting his support even before DeSantis formally entered the race.
In his 2018 victory speech, DeSantis made sure to thank the president, saying, ‘I think we’ll have a great partnership.’
Although the Florida governor has largely avoided confrontation with Trump, he has managed to throw a few jabs back.
As prosecutors prepared an indictment against Donald Trump in New York, DeSantis criticized the investigation but also said, ‘I don’t know what goes into paying hush money to a porn star to secure silence over some type of alleged affair.’
In a Piers Morgan interview that aired a few days later, he laughed off a question about the nicknames Trump was using for him.
‘I don’t know how to spell DeSanctimonious. I don’t really know what it means, but I kind of like it. It’s long, it’s got a lot of vowels. I mean, so we’ll go with that. That’s fine. You can call me whatever you want, just as long as you also call me a winner,’ DeSantis said.
On Wednesday, after launching his campaign, DeSantis avoided referencing Trump by name but made a subtle dig at him over national Republican election losses.
‘We must end the culture of losing that has infected the Republican Party in recent years,’ DeSantis said on Twitter Spaces.
‘The tired dogmas of the past are inadequate for a vibrant future. We must look forward, not backwards.’
Source: | This article originally belongs to Dailymail.co.uk