By Jack Phillips
Former President Donald Trump responded over the weekend to speculation that Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis could be a potential 2024 challenger amid an escalating war of words between the two.
During a Newsmax interview on Saturday, the 45th president was asked if he considered the Republican governor to be his vice president.
“No, I never thought about that,” Trump said in response. “We have a lot of great people in the Republican Party … it would be a very unlikely alliance.”
“Look, I appointed him. He was losing badly in the election … and I supported him,” Trump said as he repeated his comment that his support for DeSantis allowed him to become Florida’s governor in 2018. “He went from a very small number to a very large number.” he added.
Trump suggested that he boosted DeSantis’ primary bid with his endorsement and later helped him defeat Democrat Andrew Gillum in the 2018 midterm elections. DeSantis narrowly defeated Gillum.
But in November 2022, DeSantis was easily re-elected by about 19 points over former Gov. Charlie Crist, a Democrat. DeSantis, meanwhile, has boosted his national profile among Republicans after ending COVID-19-related mandates and shutdowns earlier than some other governors.
“If you look at his record, he can’t win,” Trump said, referring to DeSantis’ vote when he was a U.S. House representative. “Ron was a disciple of Paul Ryan, and Paul Ryan was a loser in many ways,” Trump said, referring to the former Republican vice presidential nominee and House speaker.
Trump said that “I don’t like to say that about another Republican,” but he “[has] to get the word out” about DeSantis. “Everybody thought he did a great job on COVID … but if you look at the list,” Trump said, “he did a bad job on COVID.”
Since the November midterm elections, Trump has increasingly intensified his attacks on DeSantis, at times referring to the governor as “Ron DeSanctimonius.” Early Monday morning, the former president came up with another nickname, calling DeSantis “Ron Dukakis,” a reference to former Massachusetts Democratic Gov. Michael Dukakis, who ran for president in 1988 before being defeated by Republican George W. Bush by more than 300 electoral votes. voices.
DeSantis has not officially entered the 2024 race, but both he and Trump have emerged as Republican frontrunners. Apart from Trump, the other two major Republicans who have announced their candidacies are former US Ambassador Nikki Haley and businessman Vivek Ramaswamy.
Meanwhile, a hypothetical poll shows DeSantis leading Trump in Iowa and tied with the former president in New Hampshire, two key states. One survey was provided to a left-wing media outlet Axios found that 45 percent of Iowans polled would vote for the Florida governor, while 37 percent would vote for Trump. Both received 39 percent in New Hampshire.
DeSantis was also asked by a Newsmax host last week if he would join Trump’s 2024 presidential ticket. The governor retorted.
“I think I’m probably more of an executive guy. I think you want to do things,” DeSantis said. “That’s part of why I got into this job, because we have an operation. We’re able to make things happen, and I think that’s what I’m best suited for.”
It came as the governor made his first critical comments about Trump since being asked about the former president’s indictment by a Manhattan grand jury over an alleged payment to adult film actress Stormy Daniels. 2016
“I don’t know what it means to silence a porn star to keep quiet about an alleged affair,” DeSantis told reporters. “I just can’t talk about it.” When asked about blocking Trump’s extradition, he said: “I’m not interested in being involved in some kind of circus by the Soros DA,” referring to billionaire donor George. Soros gave campaign cash to Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, who is investigating Trump.
Earlier this month, Trump announced that he would be arrested last Tuesday. Both his attorney and his spokeswoman said he was responding to reports from anonymous sources about his impending indictment.