Former President Donald Trump faced ridicule on Twitter after he praised former Florida Gov. Charlie Crist, a Republican-turned-independent-turned-Democrat, in a dig at the current governor and his likely 2024 presidential rival, Ron DeSantis.

Trump, the front-runner in the current GOP presidential field, issued a campaign video Monday that suggested "sunshine and ocean" are what brought people from New York and other states in droves since the COVID-19 pandemic and not DeSantis’ policies.

"For those of you that didn't notice, Florida was doing great long before Ron DeSanctus got there," Trump said in the video, using his new favored nickname for the governor. "People are fleeing from New York to Florida and other places because of high taxes and out-of-control crime. It's really bad. Not because of the Governor."

"Florida was doing fantastically," he continued. "You had a governor named Rick Scott who did a very good job. Even Charlie Crist, a Democrat, did a good job, but he had very good numbers."

Trump and DeSantis

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis seen during a press conference to announce the award of $100 million for beach recovery following Hurricanes Ian and Nicole in Daytona Beach Shores in Florida, left. Former U.S. President Donald Trump delivers remarks at the South Carolina State House on January 28, 2023, in Columbia, South Carolina, right. (Pal Hennessy/Win McNamee)


"Sunshine and ocean are very alluring," he added. "It's not too hard to work with those factors. So just remember Florida was doing really well long before Ron DeSanctus got there."

Former Rep. Crist was a Republican when he was governor but is now a Democrat after a brief stint as an independent. He was the Democratic nominee in the 2022 Florida gubernatorial election but lost in a landslide to DeSantis.

Conservatives and liberals alike roasted Trump for the video.

"Whoever helped Trump create this (even if you’re a friend of mine), should be fired," tweeted Seth Weathers, the CEO of Freedom Speaks Up. "Also, Trump should fire himself for participating in this."

"Remember when your administration was mad DeSantis re-opened Fla. during Covid?" Grabien founder Tom Elliott asked the former president.

Democratic Florida gubernatorial candidate Charlie Crist

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Charlie Crist during the Florida debate in Fort Pierce, Florida, on Monday, Oct. 24, 2022. (Eva Marie Uzcategui/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Florida gubernatorial debate

Ron DeSantis, governor of Florida, and Charlie Crist, Democratic gubernatorial candidate for Florida, during the Florida gubernatorial debate in Fort Pierce, Florida, US, on Monday, Oct. 24, 2022. (Eva Marie Uzcategui/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

"I don't want to say I warned ya, but I did," tweeted Jedediah Bila. "Ego is a very self-destructive thing."

"This is absolutely ridiculous," wrote Dave Rubin.

"I legitimately had to triple check this wasn't AI-generated," conservative Twitter personality Noam Blum.

"Whomever is advising Trump to praise Charlie Crist should be fired immediately," tweeted conservative pundit John Cardillo.

"Trump praises Rick Scott, Charlie Crist, sunshine, ocean and himself for Florida doing ‘really well,’" tweeted Washington Post investigative political reporter Josh Dawsey.

"He has no idea whatsoever how to attack DeSantis. None," tweeted senior CNN commentator Scott Jennings.

Trump released the video as he visited Iowa, the state that leads off the Republican Party’s presidential nominating calendar. He spoke Monday night at the Adler Theater in Davenport just days after DeSantis visited the state.

DeSantis at roundtable discussion

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks during a roundtable discussion at the American Museum of the Cuban Diaspora in Miami's Coral Way neighborhood on Monday, Feb. 7, 2022.  ((Matias J. Ocner/Miami Herald/Tribune News Service via Getty Images))


While Trump remains the front-runner in the Real Clear Politics national average of polls, DeSantis, who has not officially announced a presidential run, has significantly narrowed the gap. 

Jesse Kelly theorized Trump made the video because he thinks he "might be in trouble."

"Hardest part of a campaign is when you’re up in the polls, but not so far ahead that you think it’s over," Kelly tweeted. "That’s all you’re seeing here. Unforced errors cause he thinks he might be in trouble. It’s easy to be up big or down big. It’s hard to be barely ahead. You make mistakes."