Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis responded to rumors that he and former President Donald Trump are embroiled in a behind-the-scenes feud, saying such reports and suggestions are “total bunk.”
“Donald Trump’s a friend of mine. He is proud when people do well, and it’s not just me, but obviously, he’s a Florida resident, and he appreciates the job that we’ve done,” the Republican governor told Fox News in a Tuesday interview from Tallahassee. “He’s told me that many times, not only with helping with the election but just how we govern the state.”
There has been speculation that DeSantis, who is popular among Trump’s voter base, could potentially run for president in 2024. In previous interviews, the governor has demurred on the possibility, and he’s also not commented extensively on whether he would run as Trump’s vice-presidential candidate if the former president runs in 2024.
Trump “wants to see Republicans doing well,” DeSantis added in Tuesday’s interview. “And I think when media is trying to act like he’s upset at me for doing well, I think that’s total bunk. I think they’re just making it up.”
He continued, “And I think he’s somebody that wants to see, you know, not just Republicans do well, but people that are actually going to stand and fight do well across the board. Obviously, Florida is an important state, the third-largest state in the country, and really us and Texas are the two biggest states that have sizable Republican footprints, and so we’re proud of that, and we’re going to keep it going.”
DeSantis, in his interview, suggested that Democrats and some mainstream media outlets are trying to suggest there is tension within the GOP because “they know the Democrats are in for a shellacking in 2022” during the midterm elections. Generally, the party of the president tends to lose seats during the midterms, while Democrats currently hold thin majorities in both the House and Senate.
“So they’re trying to change the topic, and they’re trying to drive dissension among Republicans,” the governor said. “And so my message to people is, don’t take that bait. Understand what they’re trying to do. We need to be united and say we don’t like what the Biden administration’s doing.”
He added: “We offer a better course in Florida. I think other Republican states are offering a better vision in their states as well. And let’s go into ‘22 with a full head of steam with everybody united on the same team.”
Trump has not publicly announced whether he will run for president in 2024, although he’s strongly suggested the possibility in a number of interviews. In late January, the former commander-in-chief joked with a crowd at a golf game that he is the “45th and 47th” president.
Also in the interview, DeSantis was asked about recent statements that were made by Trump and his former vice president, Mike Pence, regarding what Pence should have done during the congressional certification on Jan. 6, 2021.
Trump and Pence, he said, should “hash that out themselves,” adding that “we are very proud of what we did in Florida in 2020 to ensure a very efficient and effective election.”