As speculation builds of Gov. Ron DeSantis’ (R) political ambitions, former President Donald Trump is playing it cool.
The 45th president told the New Yorker that he isn’t worried about whether DeSantis runs for president in 2024, saying, “I think I, would win.”
Trump dismisses speculation
Often touted as Trump’s natural successor, DeSantis has enjoyed a meteoric rise in popularity with conservatives thanks to his aggressive opposition to COVID restrictions and the left’s woke agenda.
A lengthy profile of DeSantis in the New Yorker has renewed rumors about his ambitions coming into conflict with Trump’s. But Trump, who has hinted at running for president again, told the magazine that he hasn’t asked DeSantis about 2024 plans and isn’t concerned either way.
“I don’t know if Ron is running, and I don’t ask him,” he said. “It’s his prerogative. I think I would win.”
One political leader who sees DeSantis often told the magazine that Trump is bothered the governor won’t “kiss the ring,” but Trump said he gets along well with and is “proud” of DeSantis, who won election in 2018 after Trump endorsed him.
Still, Trump made clear that he thinks DeSantis wouldn’t be where he is without Trump’s help, saying, “If I didn’t endorse him, he wouldn’t have won.”
Is a clash coming?
Trump also told Newsmax that he is “very responsible” for getting DeSantis elected.
In most 2024 Republican primary polls, Trump leads the competition, including DeSantis, by a wide margin. But DeSantis is starting to win financial support from wealthy Trump backers, Politico reported, a sign of his growing appeal.
While Trump appears to be talking down DeSantis 2024, Trump has said that he would welcome DeSantis as a running mate. One man who almost certainly isn’t getting that job is Mike Pence, who Trump has called a coward for certifying the 2020 election results as legitimate.
“I think Ron [DeSantis] would be good,” Trump said in December, according to Business Insider. “I think Mike [Pence] has been very hurt by what took place with respect to January 6. I think he’s been mortally wounded, frankly.”
Trump told the New Yorker that he is “very close to making a decision” about running in 2024. Things could get interesting.