Donald Trump shares claims that Ron DeSantis “groomed” underage students

Donald Trump shares claims that Ron DeSantis “groomed” underage students

Donald Trump took to social media to weigh in on a resurfaced photo of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) allegedly drinking with underage girls.

As Political Flare reports, on Tuesday, the former president reposted and commented on two posts on his Truth Social platform that featured a resurfaced photo allegedly showing a young DeSantis posing with students from the private Georgia boarding school where he taught between 2001–2002. One of the women in the photo is holding what appears to be a beer bottle and has her arm around a young man alleged to be the then-23-year-old DeSantis.

The photo, reportedly taken in 2002, first came to light in October 2021, when The Hill Reporter published it along with an accusation that DeSantis was known for partying with students while he was a teacher at Darlington School.

Last November, The New York Times published an investigation in which several former Darlington students recalled DeSantis attending at least two post-graduation parties where alcohol was served. Another former student recalled seeing a memo reminding teachers that fraternizing with students was inappropriate.

“‘That’s got to be about Mr. DeSantis!’ That’s what I remember everyone saying,” 2003 Darlington grad Gates Minis told the Times.

On Tuesday, a Truth Social user posted the 2002 photo along with a link to the original Hill Reporter story. “Ron DeSantis was having a ‘drink’ party with his students when he was a high school teacher,” the user wrote. “Having drinks with underage girls and cuddling with them certainly look [sic] pretty gross and ephebophiliaesque.”

Ephebophilia refers to a sexual preference for mid-to-late adolescents.

Trump reposted the message, replying simply, “No way?”

He also reposted another post from the same user featuring a meme of the photo including text that read, “Here is Ron DeSanctimonious grooming high school girls with alcohol as a teacher.”

“That’s not Ron, is it?” Trump commented. “He would never do such a thing!”

Despite his seeming disbelief and disavowal of the claims, Trump’s mere engagement with the posts serves to amplify them.

DeSantis has not announced a bid for the White House, but it’s increasingly clear that Trump sees him as a threat to his own 2024 presidential campaign. Following his decisive reelection last November, DeSantis has been seen as a top rival for the former president in the Republican primary. In recent months, the rift between the two has grown, with Trump calling the governor responsible for Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” law and Stop-Woke Act “Ron DeSanctimonious.”

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