Donald Trump recently has been ramping up his attacks on Ron DeSantis ahead of a potential 2024 Republican primary showdown. We’re not going to lie, we figured it take the former president a least a few more months before he started accusing the Florida governor of pedophilia.
Trump has been doing just that on Tuesday, though, sharing a few posts on Truth Social purporting to show DeSantis “grooming high school girls with alcohol as a teacher.”
“That’s not Ron, is it?” Trump wrote, sarcastically. “He would never do such a thing!”
The New York Times reported last year on DeSantis’ time as a teacher at the Darlington School in northwest Georgia. The report notes that several students described DeSantis as “a frequent presence at parties” with seniors at the school. “As an 18-year-old, I remember thinking, ‘What are you doing here, dude?’” one former student told the Times.
The photo Trump shared on Tuesday was originally published in 2021 by a Democratic blog called The Hill Reporter, which noted that the girls in the photo were seniors when it was taken in 2002.
Trump’s line of attack comes as DeSantis seeks to establish himself as the Republican Party’s leading culture warrior, in part by stoking fear over pedophiles and groomers. The governor’s “Don’t Say Gay” law, which prohibits the discussion of gender identity in lower grades of Florida public schools, was widely marketed as an anti-groomer bill, the idea being that educators had been “grooming” young children for sex. DeSantis’ press secretary, Christina Pushaw, last year accused opponents of the then-bill of being groomers themselves, and right-wing activists quickly descended on Disney after the company came out against the legislation. DeSantis is still trying to punish Disney for doing so.