Former President Donald Trump appeared to dial down his rhetoric against Florida governor Ron DeSantis after facing backlash over the weekend from conservatives.
At a rally in Latrobe, Pennsylvania on Saturday, Mr Trump took a swipe at his onetime ally and referred to him as “Ron DeSanctimonious”.
The former president showed poll numbers on a screen, showing Republican voter preferences for GOP nomination for president in 2024.
“There it is, Trump at 71. Ron De-Sanctimonious at 10 percent,” he was quoted as saying by the Orlando Sentinel.
“Mike Pence at 7; oh Mike Pence [is] doing better than I thought.”
Mr DeSantis won Florida’s gubernatorial election in 2018 with an endorsement from Mr Trump.
The two are vying to be the Republican candidate for the 2024 presidential elections.
Mr Trump has maintained that he will likely renew his bid for the White House, though he has stopped short of making an official announcement.
The Florida governor, on the other hand, has emerged over the past two years as a potential competitor to the former president.
Mr Trump’s direct attack on Mr DeSantis did not appear to have gone down well with conservatives.
“DeSantis is an extremely effective conservative governor who has had real policy wins and real cultural wins,” tweeted conservative commentator Matt Walsh.
“Trump isn’t going to be able to take this one down with a dumb nickname. He better have more than that up his sleeve.”
“Also, nice job launching your public attack against the most popular conservative governor in America three days before the midterms when we’re all supposed to be showing a united front,” he added.
“What an idiot,” wrote Rod Dreher, senior editor at The American Conservative.
“DeSantis is a far more effective leader of the Right than Trump was, if, that is, you expect a leader to get a lot done, rather than just talking about it and owning the libs.”
He also faced backlash from other Republican supporters and conservatives.
By Sunday afternoon, the former president appeared to have dialed back his attacks and asked voters at a rally in Florida to vote to re-elect the governor again.
“You’re going to re-elect the wonderful Marco Rubio to the United States senate and you’re going to re-elect Ron DeSantis as your governor,” he said.