Trump is a political animal — wired to pounce on every opportunity to press for political advantage. Many are waiting to see how long the former president will pause on criticizing or warning Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis not to run for the top office in the land in 2024.
On Tuesday morning, Donald and Melania Trump went to a Florida polling station and, after voting, announced voting for DeSantis.
In a tone meant to spotlight party unity, Trump told reporters outside the polling area: “I think we’re gonna have a great night. I think it’s gonna be great to the country. It’s an honor to be here. They’ve done a fantastic job, but I think we’re gonna have a very big night, and it’s gonna be very exciting.”
But speaking of DeSantis on Monday evening in an interview with Fox News, Trump said:
“I don’t know if he is running. I think if he runs, he could hurt himself very badly. I really believe he could hurt himself badly,” “I think he would be making a mistake, I think the base would not like it — I don’t think it would be good for the party.”
According to the New York Post, DeSantis “is expected to win re-election easily in the Sunshine State, is widely expected to challenge Trump for the Republican presidential nomination in 2024.”
After his rally in Ohio over the weekend, Trump said the idea of DeSantis running for president in 2024 “is not good — you have other people that possibly will run, I guess. I don’t know if he runs. If he runs, he runs.”
Surprisingly, Trump then intimated he could expose some dirt on DeSantis should he decide to run.
“I would tell you things about him that won’t be very flattering,” Trump said. “I know more about him than anybody — other than, perhaps, his wife,” Trump said cryptically.
Trump has shot several salvos across DeSantis’ bow as his political rising-star status grows—calling him “stupid” for endorsing a candidate in Colorado and referring to him as “Ron DeSanctimonious” in recent days.
Trump’s surrogates have joined him in warning DeSantis not to announce a presidential run. Before Trump took the stage at Saturday’s rally, Alina Habba, one of Trump’s lawyers, warned DeSantis not to run in an interview with Right Side Broadcasting:
“He needs to stay in Florida. Just stay where you are. You are doing a great job in Florida.” Habba added that “DeSantis is DeSantis because of Trump. I think I like what DeSantis is doing in Florida, but he needs to stay in Florida.”
At the end of his interview with Fox News, Trump downplayed reports of conflict between him and DeSantis, saying, “There’s not a tiff with me, and I’m way up in the polls. No, there’s not.”
Trump then added that DeSantis is a “fine guy.”
To ensure he has a spotlight after the midterms, on Monday Trump teased that he would be making a “big announcement” next week from Mar-a-Lago, his home in Palm Beach. Many anticipate Trump will formally announce his plans to run for president in 2024.
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