Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, a once-loyal member of Donald Trump‘s court, is refusing to bend a knee to the former president and says backing him in the 2024 election ‘is too much to ask’ after Trump publicly attacked his character.
Trump allegedly branded popular governor as having ‘no personal charisma’ and a ‘dull personality’ as rumors swirl the ex-president is angry DeSantis hasn’t declined to challenge him for the GOP presidential nomination.
DeSantis, however, has told his inner circle that Trump’s ‘expectation that he bend the knee is asking too much,’ the New York Times reported.
The governor blasted back at Trump’s criticisms, accusing the ex-president of being ‘uncharacteristically out of step with the hard-line elements of his party’s base’.
Sources close to the former president who have recently talked to him about the governor said Trump has grown increasingly irked by DeSantis in recent months, with Trump beginning to voice his frustrations to those in his inner circle.
Trump is said to be annoyed that DeSantis has refused to rule out running against him if he launches a second White House bid. The Florida governor is extremely popular in Republican circles, and is widely seen as a leader who can push policies popularized by Trump, but without the same level of drama or baggage.
‘In the context of the 2024 election, he usually gives DeSantis a pop in the nose in the middle of that type of conversation,’ a source who recently spoke to Trump about DeSantis told Axios.
The president also claims ‘there’s no way’ DeSantis would have ever been elected Florida governor without his support.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (left), a once-loyal member of Donald Trump’s court, is refusing to bend a knee to the former president (right) and says backing him in the 2024 election ‘is too much to ask’
The two are among the most popular Republican figures in the country, and with Trump eyeing another presidential run in 2024, many political pundits believe he is irritated by DeSantis’ interest in running against him and his growing popularity.
Trump is said to be further annoyed that DeSantis won’t say he will not run against the former president if he did opt to launch another White House bid.
‘I wonder why the guy won’t say he won’t run against me,’ Trump has questioned to several associates and advisers, according to the Times.
The former president hasn’t actually announced his own bid, and isn’t expected to do so until early next year.
Those close to the former president say they expect him to launch a second White House run – but also admit Trump may choose to act as a ‘kingmaker’ for the next presidential candidate instead.
The source, who was not named or identified, said they have heard Trump regularly criticize DeSantis on more than one occasion.
Just last week, Trump appeared to take direct aim at the governor in an interview last week when he called politicians who refuse to disclose their booster vaccination status as ‘gutless’.
DeSantis shot back, saying his biggest regret in office is not having ‘been much louder’ in speaking out against Trump’s coronavirus pandemic response.
Trump allegedly branded popular governor as having ‘no personal charisma’ and a ‘dull personality’ as rumors swirl the ex-president is angry DeSantis hasn’t declined to challenge him for the GOP presidential nomination. The pair are pictured together at a rally in 2019
Despite rising tensions between the two, conservatives allege both Trump and DeSantis are vital members of the Republican party.
‘DeSantis would be a formidable 2024 candidate in the Trump lane should Trump not run,’ Dan Eberhart, a Republican donor, told the Times.
‘He’s Trump but a little smarter, more disciplined and brusque without being too brusque.’
‘They’re the two most important leaders in the Republican Party,’ argued lobbyist Brian Ballard, who has connections to both men.
He also predicted Trump and DeSantis ‘will be personal and political friends for the rest of their careers’.
However, Trump reportedly views the governor as ‘ungrateful’ and argues his ‘willingness to defy him dates back several years’.
Despite his claims, insiders still believe the root of Trump’s ire towards DeSantis appears to stem from the fact that he ‘won’t say he won’t run [in 2024]. … The others have stated pretty clearly they won’t challenge him,’ the source went on to say.
DeSantis (R) sits next to Trump and Kristi Noem during a meeting with Governors elects in the Cabinet Room at the White House on December 13, 2018 in Washington, DC
‘Trump has been telling a range of aides a version of, he isn’t getting the deference from DeSantis that he wants in the pre-2024 leadup.’
The Florida governor is up for re-election this year and Trump claims he made the politician.
The former president backed then Congressman DeSantis in the Republican primary during the 2018 gubernatorial election.
DeSantis won the general election by heavily tying himself to Trump, including running TV ads where DeSantis taught his children how to ‘build the wall’ and say ‘Make America Great Again.’
‘Look, I helped Ron DeSantis at a level that nobody’s ever seen before,’ Trump told The New York Times’ Jeremy Peters for his forthcoming book, ‘Insurgency,’ on the rightward shift of the Republican Party.
Trump said he believed DeSantis ‘didn’t have a chance’ of winning without his help.
When Trump was president, DeSantis was a frequent guest at Mar-a-Lago, Trump’s private club in Palm Beach. The two would often dine together when Trump was in town.
Trump (R) listens as Florida Governor Ron DeSantis speaks ahead of the signing an executive order on lowering drug prices at the White House, in Washington, DC on July 24, 2020
Former President Donald Trump listens to Florida Governor Ron DeSantis speak about the coronavirus response during a meeting at the White House in Washington, April 28, 2020
Trump had also said he was so confident of being the GOP nominee he has said that if he runs again for president, most other Republicans would ‘drop out.’
In October, Trump bragged that if he were to run against Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, whose popularity has has soared during the pandemic, for the 2024 GOP nomination, he would easily ‘beat him’.
‘If I faced him, I’d beat him like I would beat everyone else,’ he said at the time.
‘I don’t think I will face him,’ Trump said during the interview. ‘I think most people would drop out, I think he would drop out.’
Trump made the prediction during an interview with Yahoo Finance.
The former president, who lost the 2020 general election, still remains popular and has a lot of influence among Republican voters and GOP politicians as he toys with the idea of a third run at the presidency.
‘It’s getting to a point where we really have no choice’ Trump said last month about him running.
On September 11th he gave an even clearer indication that he was considering running once again.