Florida Governor Ron DeSantis made a quiet dig at former president Donald Trump when answering a question about Mr Trump potentially being indicted and extradited from their mutual home state.
Mr DeSantis responded to a question about Mr Trump’s claim that he will likely be indicted on Tuesday. He is largely expected to announce his candidacy for the Republican nomination for president some time during the summer, which makes him Mr Trump’s most formidable challenger.
The governor responded by first by saying he had not seen any facts but noted that liberal billionaire financier George Soros bankrolled Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, who is currently probing Mr Trump’s alleged payment to adult film actress Stormy Daniels to keep her quiet about an alleged affair.
“And so he, like other Soros-funded prosecutors, they weaponize their office to impose a political agenda on society at the expense of the rule of law and public safety,” he said. Mr DeSantis also criticised Mr Bragg for being too lenient on crime.
In addition, the governor took a swipe at Mr Trump’s supposed infidelity.
“Look, I don’t know what goes into paying hush money to a porn star to secure silence over some type of alleged affair. I can’t speak to that,” he said. “But what I can speak to is that if you have a prosecutor who is ignoring crimes happening every single day in his jurisdiction and he chooses to go back many, many years ago to try and do something about porn star hush money payments, that’s an example of pursing a political agenda.”
Mr DeSantis has been seen as the most credible challenger to Mr Trump and often is the candidate closest to the former president in polling. He earned plaudits from conservatives for largely keeping the state open during the Covid-19 pandemic and his for aggressively opposing LGBTQ+ rights and education about sexuality and gender identity in schools.
Many Trump supporters criticised Mr DeSantis throughout the weekend for not making any comments about what action he would take to ensure Mr Trump, who lives in Palm Beach, would not be extradited to New York were he to be indicted.
“Radio silence from Gov. @RonDeSantisFL and Amb. @NikkiHaley,” Trump adviser Jason Miller tweeted.
“Pay attention to which Republicans spoke out against this corrupt BS immediately and who sat on their hands and waited to see which way the wind was blowing,” the former president’s son Donald Trump Jr tweeted.
-Shweta Sharma contributed to this report.