DeSantis refuses to ask Trump to approve re-election

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Florida Republican government Ron DeSantis has numerous benefits ahead of his re-election in November. Over $100 million in the bank. A growing Republican voter advantage statewide. Huge popularity with the conservative base.

What DeSantis doesn’t need and doesn’t ask for: the approval of former President Donald Trump.

According to four people with ties to the governor and former president, DeSantis has not sought and has no intention of seeking Trump’s formal approval. It’s a clear sign that DeSantis, who was a little-known congressman from northeastern Florida more than four years ago, has risen high in the GOP stratosphere.

DeSantis’ reluctance to seek the former president’s public support comes as the Florida governor prepares for a likely 2024 White House bid, even if trump walks too in 2024 — setting up a potential clash between two powerful figures in the GOP.

†[DeSantis is] a Cat 5 hurricane in Florida politics — and in a good way if you’re a Republican,” said Anthony Pedicini, an experienced GOP adviser in Florida. “He’s a force of nature.”

Trump has used his endorsement as a baton against Republicans who voted to impeach him after the Jan. 6 riots in the Capitol, including Rep. Tom Rice (RS.C.), who lost his primary to Trump-backed State Representative Russell Fry. While Trump’s endorsement has the power to make or break a candidate, this election cycle has seen his influence wane in some races.

In Georgia, for example, the candidates who supported the former president’s efforts to reverse the election results and won his endorsement failed to beat Republican incumbents, including Chief Executive Brian Kemp and Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger.

However, a Trump endorsement probably wouldn’t change DeSantis’ frontrunner status in Florida among his Florida supporters. Polls show he consistently leads his Democratic rivals. In Wisconsin, Nevada straw polls and the Western Conservative Summit’s annual survey, DeSantis has even surpassed Trump

Dave Abrams, a spokesman for DeSantis’s re-election campaign, declined to comment on whether the governor is seeking Trump’s support.

One person with knowledge of Trump’s approval process who was given anonymity to speak out said that if DeSantis asked for his support, “he would support him.”

Trump has already handed out approvals to numerous Florida Republicans in this year’s vote, including Sen. Marco Rubio as well as Attorney General Ashley Moody and Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis, two statewide officials who have no primary opponents.

DeSantis’ decision to waive an endorsement from Trump is a stark contrast to four years ago. In 2018, DeSantis was seen as a major challenger, taking on then-Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam. Putnam had support from the Republican establishment and a cash advantage. But DeSantis shook the foundations of the race when he picked up a crucial endorsement from Trump ahead of the primary. Desantis even ran a notable TV ad where he read the former president’s book “The Art of the Deal” to one of his children.

The strategy worked and DeSantis crushed Putnam as Trump supporters in Florida flocked to his side. Trump also often takes credit for Desantis’ victory, once saying “he ran, I supported him, his numbers were through the roof.”

A lot has changed in four years. DeSantis is now a nationally recognized Republican figure who was highly praised by conservatives during the pandemic for fighting shutdowns and Covid-19-related mandates. He has also publicly fought liberals over education, race relations and LGBTQ issues. DeSantis has received small dollar donations from individuals in all 50 states and millions of dollars in cash from major GOP donors such as Texas oil baron Kelcy Warren, who has also donated to Trump.

Though stories have been published about the burgeoning rivalry between DeSantis and Trump, they haven’t stopped talking to each other. DeSantis attended a star-studded wedding in Mar-a-Lago with his wife Casey DeSantis in late April, where they chatted briefly with Trump and his wife Melania.

Still, DeSantis has sidestepped questions about his 2024 plans and whether he would waive the presidency if Trump runs for another term. When asked directly on Fox and Friends recently if he would run if Trump runs, DeSantis said “good try” while brushing the question aside.

This reticence has not gone unnoticed. A Republican donor to DeSantis, who was allowed to speak anonymously to discuss the sensitive issue, said Trump has privately questioned DeSantis’ loyalty, while also raising questions about whether DeSantis is handsome enough to win over voters. .

Still, Florida Republican Party vice chairman Christian Ziegler said any intrigue over whether Trump will support DeSantis is part of “false stories” pitting the two Republicans against each other.

“Republicans understand what’s going on and we’re not going to be fooled,” Ziegler said in a text message. “Not only are we united, but we are ecstatic to live in a state ruled by DeSantis that considers President Donald Trump a resident.”

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.