DeSantis rejects Trump VP speculation in phone call criticizing Trump

 February 22, 2024

Florida governor Ron DeSantis (R) scuttled speculation of being Donald Trump's vice president after Trump appeared to extend an olive branch to his former primary rival.

After months of feuding with DeSantis, Trump took many by surprise when he included him in a "shortlist" of running mates during a Fox News town hall.

But DeSantis shot the idea down less than a day later in a private Zoom call, in which he criticized Trump and his VP search.

"People were mentioning me [as his vice president]. I'm not doing that," DeSantis told supporters.

DeSantis says no to VP

DeSantis endorsed Trump in January, but his ambivalent support has led to speculation that the governor still has his heart set on the presidency.

During Wednesday's call, DeSantis criticized Trump and complained that conservative media aren't tough enough on him.

"You know, he said at some point, he can shoot someone on Fifth Avenue and not lose a vote," he said.

"Well, I think he could shoot someone on Fifth Avenue and the conservative media wouldn't even report on it that it had happened. I mean, that's kind of where we're at," he said.

DeSantis, who attempted to run to the right of Trump during the primary, also blasted his VP search as being influenced by "identity politics" - a reference to rumors that Trump may pick a woman.

DeSantis eyes 2028?

DeSantis ended his presidential campaign last month after failing to meet the sky-high expectations of his candidacy, which many saw at first as a serious threat to Trump's political ambitions.

Trump said he was "honored" to have DeSantis' endorsement when the governor finally kissed the ring, a humbling gesture after the two spent the past year in a bitter feud.

Trump showed no grudges Tuesday night when he listed DeSantis as one of his top VP picks during an event with Laura Ingraham.

While DeSantis remains a top VP choice for many Republican voters, the bitterness of the primary appears to have spoiled any chance of that happening.

A top Trump strategist, Chris LaCivita, called DeSantis a "sad little man" after his private comments bashing Trump went public.

On the call Wednesday, DeSantis did not rule out running for president again in 2028, saying, "I think a lot happens in politics."

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