Former President Donald Trump and GOP Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis both deny rumors of a political rift between them.
The speculation arose after DeSantis was a no-show at Trump’s campaign-style rally in Sarasota over the weekend, but Trump made it clear that there were no hard feelings.
“He should be there”
In remarks to Newsmax this week, the ex-president said that it was “mutually agreed” that the governor needed to be in Surfside as a search and rescue effort continued at the site of a building collapse.
The Washington Examiner reported last week that DeSantis urged Trump to rescheduled the rally planned for Saturday night. Trump fueled additional gossip when he left the absent DeSantis out of his list of acknowledgments during the event.
Nevertheless, Trump subsequently asserted that he knows the governor is working “very hard” and “should be there” as crews comb through the rubble left in the wake of the condominium collapse.
“He’s doing a very good job, and he should be there,” Trump said of the governor’s decision to skip his rally. “I told him, I said, ‘You should stay there. This is not that important for you.’ He of all people should be there.”
“The governor’s duty”
Christina Pushaw, the governor’s press secretary, also dismissed claims of a conflict between the two prominent Republican leaders.
“He spoke with President Trump, who agreed that this was the right decision, as the governor’s duty is to be in Surfside making sure the families and community have what they need in the aftermath of the tragic building collapse,” she said, according to the New York Post.
DeSantis is increasingly seen as the early favorite to take up the party’s mantle if Trump decides against seeking another White House term in 2024. He has established himself as a champion of right-wing values by issuing firm stances against hot-button issues like critical race theory and vaccine passports.
For his part, Trump has been increasingly visible in the political arena in recent weeks with the return of his signature rallies. The event in Sarasota marked his second such appearance since leaving office in January.