The Florida governor told Piers Morgan in an interview that he was not phased by Mr Trump’s mocking and branding of him as “Ron DeSanctimonious” in recent attacks.
“I don’t know how to spell the sanctimonious one. I don’t really know what it means, but I kinda like it, it’s long, it’s got a lot of vowels. We’ll go with that, that’s fine,” he told Morgan on Piers Morgan Uncensored.
“I mean you can call me whatever you want, just as long as you also call me a winner because that’s what we’ve been able to do in Florida, is put a lot of points on the board and really take this State to the next level.”
Mr DeSantis told Morgan that he has no plans to regularly respond to Mr Trump’s personal attacks if he does formally jump into the race for the White House.
“To me, it’s just background noise,” he said. “It’s not important for me to be fighting with people on social media. It’s not accomplishing anything for the people I represent.
“So, we really just focus on knocking out victories, day after day, and if I got involved in all the under tow I would not be able to be an effective Governor. So, I don’t think it’s something that makes sense for me.”
The latest comments from Mr DeSantis come a day after he failed to publicly support Mr Trump amid claims from the former president himself that he will soon be indicted over hush money payments to adult film star Stormy Daniels.
“I don’t know what goes into paying hush money to a porn star to secure silence over some type of alleged affair,” Mr DeSantis said at a news conference in Panama City, Florida. “I just, I can’t speak to that.”
And he added: I’ve got real issues to deal with here in the state of Florida.”
Mr Trump responded by personally attacking Mr DeSantis in a post on his social media platform Truth Social.
“Ron DeSanctimonious will probably find out about FALSE ACCUSATIONS & FAKE STORIES sometime in the future, as he gets older, wiser, and better known, when he’s unfairly and illegally attacked by a woman, even classmates that are ‘underage’ (or possibly a man!). I’m sure he will want to fight these misfits just like I do!” Mr Trump wrote.
Morgan told Mr DeSantis that he had “made a fatal error” in his relationship with Mr Trump by getting “too popular”, to which the politician agreed that his overwhelming re-election last November had impacted it.
“My view though is we should want the country to do well,” said Mr DeSantis. “I want other Republicans to do well. I want them to eclipse me. We’re setting a great standard in Florida, have everyone up their game.”