Trump said he didn’t “understand” why DeSantis wasn’t more appreciative of him, per a WaPo report.
“I knew him from watching Fox, and he’d done a good job about me and other things,” Trump said of DeSantis.
Per the report, Trump advisors are looking for weaknesses in a potential 2024 DeSantis campaign.
Former President Donald Trump expressed frustration that Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis was not more appreciative of him and ruminated over his 2018 endorsement of the rising Republican star, according to The Washington Post.
While speaking about DeSantis — a possible contender for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination — Trump called the governor “ungrateful” and seemed perplexed at DeSantis’ metamorphosis from reliable ally to potential challenger, per two individuals who spoke with the newspaper.
After Trump endorsed DeSantis’ gubernatorial campaign in 2018, the then-congressman — who was largely trailing then-Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam in the GOP primary campaign — rocketed to the top of polls. DeSantis went on to beat Putnam 56.5%-36.5% in the primary before narrowly defeating then-Tallahassee mayor Andrew Gillum by 0.4-percentage points in the general election.
“I knew him from watching Fox, and he’d done a good job about me and other things. He’s an Ivy League baseball player,” Trump said of DeSantis, according to The Post.
He reportedly continued: “I don’t understand what happened here. I don’t understand why he doesn’t appreciate me more.”
While attending Yale University as an undergraduate, DeSantis was a member of the school’s baseball team.
Trump often touted DeSantis’ Ivy League pedigree while promoting the Floridian during his first gubernatorial campaign, while also mentioning that the then-congressman had attended Harvard Law School.
“Congressman Ron DeSantis, a top student at Yale and Harvard Law School, is running for Governor of the Great State of Florida,” Trump wrote on his now-deplatformed Twitter account in June 2018.
He continued: “Ron is strong on Borders, tough on Crime & big on Cutting Taxes – Loves our Military & our Vets. He will be a Great Governor & has my full Endorsement!”
Since becoming governor, DeSantis has become one of the most prominent conservative politicians in the country, dismissing COVID-19 shutdowns, signing into law a bill that bars the discussion of sexual orientation and gender identity for younger children in K-12 education, stripping the self-governing status for Disney’s Orlando-area theme parks, and affirming a hardline stance on immigration, among other issues.
The governor’s recent immigration-related moves—where he sent a plane filled with Venezuelan immigrants to Martha’s Vineyard—was just the latest in headline-grabbing measures that have made him a popular would-be successor to Trump.
However, Trump has continued to tease a 2024 presidential campaign, and the former president continues to attract a loyal following among most of the Republican base despite the party’s ongoing fascination with DeSantis.
Should Trump and DeSantis eventually face each other in a GOP primary, the former president’s advisors have already pointed out what they feel are the governor’s weaknesses, including their view that he isn’t a captivating speaker, according to The Post.
Trump, who has continued to hold political rallies after leaving the White House, has built a deep rapport with large segments of the Republican base — which could be difficult for even the most gifted of communicators to overcome.
Insider reached out to representatives of Trump and DeSantis for comment.
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