Trump Threatens to Release Unfavorable Information Regarding DeSantis if He Runs for Office.

Several hours before Tuesday’s Election Day polls opened in Florida, former President Donald Trump cautioned the state’s governor, Ron DeSantis, against challenging Trump’s expected presidential run in 2024.

“If he runs, he runs,” Trump said of DeSantis to a handful of reporters traveling with him on his private plane — recently refurbished and put back into use — after a rally Monday night in Dayton, Ohio.

But Trump added, in remarks published Tuesday by The Wall Street Journal, “If he did run, I will tell you things about him that won’t be very flattering. I know more about him than anybody other than perhaps his wife, who is really running his campaign.”

The former president, who was ready to declare an unusual bid for the White House after a loss, openly threatened to defame the person who would be regarded his leading challenger if he ran.

Trump, who for decades has threatened business competitors, partners, reporters, and critics with lawsuits and humiliation, has taken cut-and-burn politics to new heights.

He encouraged his supporters to spread dirt about President Joe Biden’s son Hunter, invited women who had accused former President Bill Clinton of sexual misconduct to his 2016 debate with Hillary Rodham Clinton, and tweeted a vague threat about Sen. Ted Cruz’s wife during that year’s Republican primary.

But today, according to his advisors, Trump is quicker to anger and regularly in a state of near-rage over no longer being president.

Monday night in Dayton, Ohio, President Trump called House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., a “animal” because she spearheaded the attempt to impeach him twice as president. Pelosi’s husband was recently attacked with a hammer by an intruder who was hunting for Pelosi.

Trump’s warnings do not often carry much weight, but his fans, like as those who rioted at the Capitol on January 6, 2021, hear his remarks.

In addition, Trump’s use of aggressive speech at his rallies has escalated during the past year. He has recounted accounts of gruesome crimes to heighten perceptions of disorder under Democratic leadership; he has threatened reporters with future jail sentences to coerce them into revealing their sources, lest they be raped by other prisoners; and he has stated that he would recommend the death penalty for drug dealers.

Advisors, family members, and Republican leaders had to dissuade Trump from announcing his own presidential candidacy on Monday night, according to several people briefed on the negotiations. Instead, it is widely anticipated that he would make a statement next week; on November 15, he asked his followers to stay tuned for a “very major news.”

Trump has made it quite obvious that he intends to run for president again, despite the fact that, according to a number of advisers, he appeared ambivalent about another campaign for the most of the past twenty months. However, his use of direct threats to deter DeSantis indicates that he is prepared to reengage in politics.

DeSantis has occupied Trump’s thinking for months, as he and other potential candidates — including Trump’s former vice president, Mike Pence — have made moves toward candidacies of their own.

Over the weekend, Trump road-tested a nickname for DeSantis, “Ron DeSanctimonious,” to the dismay of a number of conservatives.