Trump insists ‘I would win’ 2024 GOP showdown with DeSantis

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Trump insists 'I would win' 2024 GOP showdown with DeSantis

Former President Donald Trump has said he’s not worried about Ron DeSantis jumping into the 2024 Republican presidential race — but his associates are trying to kill a White House bid by the upstart Florida governor, according to a report on Monday.

“I don’t know if Ron is running, and I don’t ask him,” Trump told The New Yorker in an interview published Monday. “It’s his prerogative. I think I would win.”

The 45th president added that he was “very close to making a decision” about launching a third consecutive presidential run, which he has teased for months.

Trump and DeSantis are widely viewed as the leading contenders for the Republican nomination in 2024, and the report said that the former president claimed to have a “very good relationship” with the governor and added that “I’m proud of Ron.”​

However, the outlet claimed that Trump has become increasingly resentful of DeSantis as the Floridian’s popularity grows in Republican circles.

Trump and DeSantis are widely viewed as the leading contenders for the Republican nomination in 2024 presidential election.
Trump and DeSantis are widely viewed as the leading contenders for the Republican nomination in 2024 presidential election.
REUTERS/Tom Brenner
The 45th president added that he was “very close to making a decision” about launching a third consecutive presidential run, which he has teased for months.
The 45th president added that he was “very close to making a decision” about launching a third consecutive presidential run, which he has teased for months.
MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images

“He won’t kiss the ring,”​ the magazine quoted a political leader who talks to DeSantis as saying.

The main source of tension between the two appears to be DeSantis’ drift from Trump’s influence — as shown by the governor’s dwindling number of visits to Mar-a-Lago since the 2020 presidential election.

Trump was also annoyed, according to the report, that DeSantis did not immediately rule out a presidential campaign despite knowing that Trump was teeing up another White House run. 

The governor received 74% approval from the attendees, compared to Trump's 71%. The next closest potential GOP contender was Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) at 29.
The governor received 74% approval from the attendees, compared to Trump’s 71%. The next closest potential GOP contender was Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) at 29.
CHANDAN KHANNA/AFP via Getty Images
According to the report, Trump was skeptical of DeSantis' commitment to him even when the former president was running for reelection in 2020.
According to the report, Trump was skeptical of DeSantis’ commitment to him even when the former president was running for reelection in 2020.
AP Photo/Chris O’Meara, File

Now, as one Republican political consultant told the New Yorker, “Trump World is working overtime to find ways to burn DeSantis down. They really hate him​.”

The Florida governor has raised his national profile and burnished his conservative brand by pushing the state to reopen quickly during the COVID-19 pandemic and by engaging Disney in a beef over the entertainment giant’s opposition to the state’s so-called “Don’t Say Gay” law. 

At the Western Conservative Summit earlier this month in Colorado, DeSantis bested Trump by three percentage points in a straw poll of 2024 presidential candidates. 

The governor received 74% approval from the attendees, compared to Trump’s 71%. The next closest potential GOP contender was Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) at 29%.

According to the report, Trump was skeptical of DeSantis’ commitment to him even when the former president was running for reelection in 2020 and the governor attended his rallies and was a frequent visitor at Mar-a-Lago. 

“Ron will tell you he’s doing everything he can for the president, and he’ll sound believable,” a lawyer who speaks to both men told the magazine at the time.

But after losing the 2020 election to Joe Biden, Trump began to feel that DeSantis was pulling away from him and wasn’t dependent on support from his base.

Still, Trump invited the governor to join him onstage at a Sarasota rally in July 2021, leading to rampant speculation DeSantis would blow off the former president. 

“There were alarm bells ringing — will DeSantis appear?” a former Republican congressman told The New Yorker. “Ron didn’t want to be onstage with Trump.” 

DeSantis ended up not attending the Sarasota event, going instead to Surfside, Fla., where a large section of the Champlain Towers had collapsed days before, killing nearly 100 people.

The governor’s office at the time denied the existence of a rift between him and the former president.

A statement said DeSantis did not attend because of “his duty is to be in Surfside working to ensure the families and community have what they need in the aftermath of the tragic building collapse.”​

Trump also said at the time that he encouraged DeSantis not to come, telling an interviewer: ​​”We mutually agreed. He is working very hard. He is doing a very good job​ ​…​ ​I told him: ‘You should stay there, this is not that important for you.’ He of all people should be there.”​

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