Trump Thanks DeSantis for Endorsement, Calling Him ‘Gracious’

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Former President Donald J. Trump on Sunday thanked Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida for endorsing him after suspending his campaign, calling Mr. DeSantis — once a top rival whom Mr. Trump spent significant time bashing in his speeches — “gracious.”

Speaking to a packed house at a historic theater in Rochester, N.H., Mr. Trump called Mr. DeSantis’s wife, Casey, a “really terrific person.” And he said that Mr. DeSantis “ran a really good campaign.”

“I will tell you, it’s not easy,” Mr. Trump said. “They think it’s easy to run this stuff, right? It’s not easy.”

He went on: “But as you know, he left the campaign trail today at 3 p.m.,” adding, “And in so doing, he was very gracious, and he endorsed me, so I appreciate that.”

For months, Mr. Trump made attacking Mr. DeSantis a focal point of his campaign speeches, particularly in Iowa. He bashed Mr. DeSantis as disloyal, called him a poor governor and suggested he was a political opportunist whose positions had shifted as he ran for president.

But after Mr. Trump’s dominant victory in the Iowa caucuses, in which Mr. DeSantis finished a distant second, Mr. Trump shifted his sights to Nikki Haley, the former South Carolina governor who is his closest-polling competitor in the New Hampshire primary race.

In speeches this past week, Mr. Trump mostly swiped at Mr. DeSantis in casual asides that suggested he wasn’t worth the time.

“You notice I haven’t mentioned the name of Ron DeSanctimonious yet,” Mr. Trump said at a rally in Manchester on Saturday, using a derisive moniker he bestowed on the Florida governor last year. “I think he’s gone.”

Sunday was perhaps the first day in months that Mr. Trump did not use that nickname. Earlier in the day, he told supporters at his campaign headquarters in Manchester that he would stop using that nickname after Mr. DeSantis left the race.

“Will I be using the name Ron DeSanctimonious?” Mr. Trump said. “I said that name is officially retired.”

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Trump Thanks DeSantis for Endorsement, Calling Him ‘Gracious’

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