Earlier in the week, reports emerged that suggested Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) was in a behind-the-scenes “feud” with former President Donald Trump regarding a planned July 4 rally. The reports suggested that DeSantis believed the rally was too close in proximity and timing to the tragedy of the collapsed, 12-story condo in nearby Surfside, Florida.
However, according to the Washington Examiner, Trump would later downplay the reports, insisting that no such feud existed. Bolstering those claims over the weekend, Trump clarified that, in fact, it was he who insisted DeSantis not attend the Sarasota rally event planned for Independence Day.
As reported by The New York Times, ongoing search-and-rescue efforts for the remaining 121 people thought to be trapped in the debris have been halted for not only safety reasons but also in preparation for the possibility of the area being hit in the coming days by Tropical Storm Elsa.
Why shouldn’t DeSantis attend?
The explanation, according to Trump, is nothing of concern. The former president reportedly wanted DeSantis — who would otherwise be a star speaker at any Florida-based Trump rally — to stay in Surfside to monitor the ongoing efforts in the condo tower collapse situation.
According to Newsmax, Trump said of the situation: “We mutually agreed. He is working very hard. He is doing a very good job. He should be there.”
“I told him: ‘You should stay there, this is not that important for you.’ He of all people should be there,” the former president added.
Blown out of proportion
Early reports claimed that DeSantis’ team pleaded with the president’s team to call off the rally altogether — a report that was later strongly denied by DeSantis’ office.
“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.” DeSantis spokeswoman Christina Pushaw said.
“Gov. DeSantis would have gone to this event in normal circumstances,” she added. “He is sure the rally will draw a big crowd on this holiday weekend, as many Floridians are excited to attend.”
Trump leads fundraising efforts
Given Trump’s past record of using his influence and vast wealth to provide assistance when needed, it’s not a surprise to learn that the former president is helping lead efforts to raise money for victims and families of victims of the Champlain Towers South condominium collapse.
The former president, also a Florida resident, plans to piggyback fundraising efforts off of his Sarasota rally, according to a spokesperson.
“In fact, President Trump has instructed his team to collect relief aid for Surfside families both online and on-site at the Sarasota rally,” spokesperson Liz Harrington said.