Former President Donald Trump over the weekend responded to speculation that Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis could be a potential 2024 running mate amid an escalating war of words between the two.
During a Newsmax interview on Saturday, the 45th president was asked about whether he considered the Republican governor to be his vice president.
“No, I never thought of it,” Trump said in response. “We have a lot of great people in the Republican Party … it would be a very unlikely alliance.”
“Look, I appointed him. He was failing badly in the polls … and I endorsed him,” Trump said as he reiterated his comment that his backing of DeSantis enabled him to become Florida’s governor in 2018. “He went from a very small number to a very high number,” he added.
Trump suggested that he boosted DeSantis’s primary bid with his endorsement and later, helped him defeat Democrat Andrew Gillum during the 2018 midterms. DeSantis defeated Gillum by a narrow margin.
But in November 2022, DeSantis easily won reelection by about 19 points over former Gov. Charlie Crist, a Democrat. In the meantime, DeSantis has raised his national profile among Republicans after ending COVID-19-related mandates and lockdowns earlier than some other governors.
“If you look at his record, he can’t win,” Trump said, referring to DeSantis’s voting while he was a U.S. House representative. “Ron was a disciple of Paul Ryan, and Paul Ryan was a loser in many ways,” Trump said, referring to the former GOP vice presidential candidate and House speaker.
Trump said that “I don’t like saying this about another Republican,” but he “[has] to get the word out” about DeSantis. “Everyone thought he did great on COVID … but if you look at the list,” Trump said, “he did poorly on COVID.”