Former President Donald Trump said Friday that an alliance with his likely main challenger, Governor Ron DeSantis, is “very unlikely.”
Trump, who has launched a barrage of attacks on Florida’s governor before he even enters the 2024 Republican presidential primary, said in an interview that he never thought to ask DeSantis for his 2024 running mate to become.
“No, I think that would be a very unlikely alliance,” Trump told Newsmax.
“We have a lot of great people in the Republican Party. I never thought about it; but you know some people mention it occasionally, but that’s about it,” he said.
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Former President Donald Trump speaks to reporters as he lands at Quad City International Airport en route to Iowa on Monday, March 13, 2023 in Moline, IL. (Photo by Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
DeSantis’ popularity with Republicans has skyrocketed since becoming governor of Florida in 2018, thanks to his rejection of the restrictions of the coronavirus pandemic, his proactive opposition to critical race theories and sex and gender ideologies in schools, and his belligerent stance on corporations and media figures who have expressed his criticism of him. agenda. Hypothetical 2024 matchups list Trump and DeSantis as the top two picks among GOP primary voters, and Trump considers DeSantis his most serious threat for re-nomination.
Trump also believes his 2018 endorsement made DeSantis’ political career, and he feels betrayed by DeSantis, who does not support Trump’s third presidential campaign and appears to have White House ambitions of his own.
In his interview with Newsmax, Trump took credit for propelling DeSantis from relative obscurity as a member of Congress to the Republican nominee for governor in Florida and ultimately for choosing DeSantis over Democratic mayor of Tallahassee, Andrew Gillum.
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“I appointed him,” Trump said. “He failed badly in the polls. He was out of politics. He was going to be out of politics, and I supported him, and he went from a very small number to a very high number. I had rallies for Ron, and we got him in. A few years later they said, “Would you run against the president for the presidency?” He said, “I have no comment.” I said, ‘That shouldn’t be happening.'”
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Florida Governor Ron DeSantis on the set of an interview with British journalist Piers Morgan. (Fox & Friends Screenshot/Fox Nation)
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DeSantis had largely ignored Trump’s attacks until this week, when he commented on Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s possible indictment against Trump over alleged hush money payments to porn star Stormy Daniels in 2016 – intended to keep her quiet about an alleged sexual encounter she had years ago. Trump has denied the affair and any wrongdoing related to payments to Daniels.
Asked about the impending indictment against Trump, DeSantis tore off Bragg as a politically motivated accuser, but also said, “I don’t know what’s involved in paying hush money to a porn star to silence some alleged affair. I can.” I’m not talking about that.”
This response infuriated Trump. In a flurry of posts on Truth Social, Trump denounced DeSantis as ungrateful, disloyal and an “average governor.”
However, DeSantis stood by his comments in an interview with British media presenter Piers Morgan. Clips and quotes from the interview, which aired in its entirety on Fox Nation on Thursday, were in the news all week.
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Former President Donald J. Trump faces an indictment from New York District Attorney Alvin Bragg. (Shane Bevel/NCAA Photos via Getty Images/Victor J. Blue/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
He highlighted his landslide 19-point re-election victory last year — as opposed to Trump’s defeat in the 2020 presidential election — and emphasized his “no-nonsense” style of government compared to the tumult that characterized the Trump White House years. DeSantis criticized the former president for calling federal health official Dr. Anthony Fauci, mocking the derogatory nicknames Trump has repeatedly called the governor.
Trump claims that even if DeSantis decides to run for president, he cannot win. He compares the governor’s record to established Republican figures such as former Florida governor Jeb Bush or former Speaker of the House of Representatives Paul Ryan, pointing out that DeSantis’s voting record in Congress also votes to raise the retirement age. age to 70 years in 2013.
“If you look at his record, he can’t win because he voted against Social Security; he voted against everything,” Trump told Newsmax. “He voted against things that are so important. Medicare. He voted against Medicare. He wanted to significantly increase the age of people receiving social security.’
“The things he voted against are devastating because people don’t know this about Ron: Ron was a disciple of Paul Ryan. And Paul Ryan was a loser. You know that. He was a loser in many ways,” Trump added please.
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It’s an allegation that doesn’t match the record. DeSantis was a founding member of the House Freedom Caucus, which was a thorn in the side of Speaker Ryan, as well as House Speaker John Boehner before him. In fact, Trump sided with Ryan against the Freedom Caucus in 2017, when hardline conservatives pushed for a full repeal of the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, and GOP leaders wanted a more partial repeal.
But what Trump’s attacks may lack in accuracy, they make up for in ferocity. His barrage has hit DeSantis from left and right on education, COVID and more.
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Any decision DeSantis makes to run for president will come only after the Florida legislature wraps up its current session in May. Yet Trump indicated that the attacks will keep coming.
“I just assume he’s on the run, which is why I’m attacking,” Trump said. “But I’m not going to attack Republicans.”
Fox News’ Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report.
Chris Pandolfo is a writer for Fox News Digital. Send tips to c[email protected] and follow him on Twitter @ChrisCPandolfo.