Ron DeSantis swiped at Donald Trump’s age Sunday as the two battle for the White House — prompting the former president’s camp to snipe back that the Florida governor was suffering a “mental breakdown.”
DeSantis, 45, contended that the presidency is not a job for someone such as the elderly Trump, who turned 77 in June, while stressing he himself is in “the prime of my life.
“The presidency is not a job for an 80-year-old,” DeSantis told CNN’s “State of the Union.”
“Donald Trump would actually be older on Jan. 28, 2025, than Biden was on Jan. 20, of 2021,” the GOP contender said, referring to the the swearing-in date for the next president — and the continuing controversy over the age of the Democratic president, who is set to turn 81 on Monday.
“Father Time is undefeated. Donald Trump is not exempt from any of that,” DeSantis said.
Meanwhile, “I’m in the prime of my life,” the conservative Florida pol boasted.
The Florida governor’s campaign has been keeping an “accident tracker,” tallying up Trump’s verbal flubs and flagrant mishaps on the GOP presidential primary campaign trail.
“This is not the same guy as the Trump in 2015 and ’16,” DeSantis said. “That Trump would show up on the debate stage, he’d barnstorm. Yeah, he was off color, he was edgy, but it was all part of an idea that he was really going to shake things up.
“Now he’s wedded to the teleprompter. He’s not willing to debate, and he’s running on many of the same things he promised to do in 2016 didn’t deliver,” the governor said.
Trump’s campaign scoffed at the digs.
“President Trump is crushing Ron DeSantis by historic proportions in every single poll,” Trump campaign spokesman Steven Cheung told The Post.
“Ron must have either slammed his own head against the wall or is going through some mental breakdown for him to say something stupid like that.”
DeSantis has been sharpening his rhetoric against Trump in recent weeks, accusing the GOP frontrunner of phoning it in while enjoying a commanding lead in the polls.
The Florida guv rattled off issues that were signature in Trump’s 2016 run at the White House — and which DeSantis said the former president failed to make significant headway on, including building a wall at the US’ southern border to stop illegal migrants and “draining ‘The Swamp,’ ” a k a the Capitol.
DeSantis said Trump sounds like a broken record during the 2024 contest by pledging to tackle both again.
“Trump’s a high-risk proposition as a nominee because I think the chance of him getting elected is small, but it’s a low reward,” DeSantis argued.
The Florida Republican stressed that Trump would be a “lame duck on Day One” if elected because he’d be struggling to attract good talent to his administration given his poor track record at getting things done and also would “be saddled with all these distractions.” Trump is currently the target of a slew of criminal and civil prosecutions.
The former president has a whopping 44.5 percentage point edge over DeSantis in the latest RealClearPolitics aggregate.
Trump also is beating Biden in a melange of both national and critical battleground state polling.
Unmoved by the polling, DeSantis posited that Democrats and the media are keeping their powder dry on Trump for now.
“They’re going very easy on him right now. I mean, they’re not saying much. … If he were to be the nominee, I mean, you’re gonna see scorched earth,” DeSantis said.
“The whole election will end up being a referendum on Donald Trump, and Biden will be able to hang out in the basement, and I think he’ll be able to get away with it again,” DeSantis warned.
Republican presidential candidates are slated to have their next debate Dec. 6 in Tuscaloosa, Ala. Trump has been a no-show at the three previous GOP debates.
There have been rumors of Trump making a surprise appearance at the next show-down, but so far nothing has been confirmed.
DeSantis also weighed in on a controversy surrounding Elon Musk. Last week, Musk appeared to endorse a post on X by a user who claimed Jews have been pushing “dialectical hatred against whites.”
Musk replied to that post, saying, “You have said the actual truth.”
The space and electric car tycoon later tried to clean up the situation by suggesting he was referring to the Anti-Defamation League, after his post prompted swift backlash, accusations of antisemitism and multiple companies to halt advertising on X.
DeSantis, who launched his campaign on X in May, withheld judgement on the matter, insisting he wasn’t well-read-up on the context.
“I’ve never seen him indulge in any of that,” DeSantis said of Musk regarding online antisemitism. “So it’s surprising if that’s true, but I have not seen it. So I don’t want to sit there and pass judgment on the fly.”
The Florida Republican underscored the prevalence of antisemitism on the left after the horrific Oct. 7 attack by Palestinian Hamas terrorists on Israel and Israel’s deadly retaliatory strikes on Gaza.
“I think in the advent of these attacks [on Oct. 7], the amount of antisemitism that we’ve seen has really surprised me,” he said.
“We have Jewish students fleeing for their lives because you have angry mobs,” DeSantis said. “On the institutional side, you’ve seen this become part of a left wing.”