Donald Trump Jr accidentally insulted his father on Thursday night, mixing up his words while trying to condemn Ron DeSantis, Donald Trump’s closest rival for the Republican presidential nomination.
“Trump has the charisma of a mortician and the energy that makes Jeb Bush look like an Olympian,” Trump Jr said on his online show, Triggered With Don Jr, on the Rumble video platform on Thursday night.
Jeb Bush was a former governor of Florida and party establishment favourite when Trump Sr won the Republican primary in 2016.
DeSantis, the current governor of Florida, made his 2024 campaign official on Wednesday, with a glitch-filled launch on Twitter.
DeSantis is a clear second to Trump in polling but lags by more than 30 points in most polling averages.
The former US president faces unprecedented legal jeopardy, from criminal charges over hush money payments to a porn star and being found liable for sexual assault, to facing indictment over election subversion and his handling of classified material after leaving office.
But he has successfully portrayed such problems to his base of loyal voters and many Republicans in Congress as the result of political persecution.
Donald Trump Jr has emerged as a key surrogate for his father. His Rumble show shares a name with one of his books, Triggered: How the Left Thrives on Hate and Wants to Silence Us.
He was briefly silent after his gaffe on Thursday night.
He had just said: “Once you actually put out the facts I think a different image is going to emerge,” he said. “Ron wants people to think that he’s like ‘Trump-lite’ or something like that. He’s not, either on policy grounds or personality.
“Trump has the charisma of a mortician, and the energy that makes Jeb Bush look an Olympian.”
After a short pause, and without correcting himself, Trump Jr continued: “The policies of a DC swamp rat because we’ve seen … the flip-flops, right?”
Trump Jr also hit DeSantis for the “hashtag DeSaster” of his campaign launch with Elon Musk, the owner of Twitter, and David Sacks, a Republican donor, which he said showed he needed “two charismatic billionaires” to help him through.
DeSantis, Trump Jr added, had a “sort of nasally and effeminate … voice”.
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