Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is reportedly preparing for a 2024 presidential run. At the same time, former President Donald Trump is taking shots at “disloyal” DeSantis for considering a potential run for the White House in 2024.
The Washington Post reported on Saturday, “Advisers to Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis are actively preparing for a possible presidential run, according to two Republicans with knowledge of the conversations who described meetings and preliminary staffing moves — the latest indication that DeSantis is laying a foundation for a national campaign.”
The report claimed that the top dogs in the potential DeSantis 2024 campaign team have “already identified multiple potential hires in early primary states such as New Hampshire and Iowa.”
The political insider informed the outlet that Phil Cox and Generra Peck are part of the discussions about a 2024 run. Peck was the campaign manager for Ron’s dominant 2022 gubernatorial victory against Charlie Crist. Cox is a former executive director of the Republican Governors Association and was a senior-level adviser for the DeSantis reelection campaign.
Also on Saturday, Trump took a shot at DeSantis for even contemplating a 2024 presidential run during a campaign event at the statehouse in downtown Columbia, South Carolina.
“When I hear that he might [run] I think it’s very disloyal,” Trump said of DeSantis.
Trump accused DeSantis and his administration of “trying to rewrite history” regarding their COVID-19 pandemic response.
“There are Republican governors that did not close their states,” Trump told reporters while aboard his plane, according to CNN. “Florida was closed for a long period of time.”
“They’re trying to rewrite history,” Trump declared.
In March 2020, DeSantis signed an executive order closing bars and nightclubs. He also ordered restaurants to close their dining rooms and use take-out and delivery only.
The Republican Florida governor reopened the state completely in late September 2020. DeSantis also signed an order to protect businesses from local governments attempting to shut them down over mask mandate violations.
Trump also said DeSantis “changed his tune a lot” regarding the COVID-19 vaccines, adding that the Florida governor “promoted the vaccine as much as anyone.”
Trump brushed off the possibility of DeSantis beating him, “He won’t be leading, I got him elected. I’m the one that chose him.”
However, a University of New Hampshire poll released on Thursday showed that DeSantis (42%) led Trump (30%) by 12 points.
A Marquette Law School poll released on Thursday found that 45% of registered voters prefer DeSantis over 38% who prefer President Joe Biden in a hypothetical matchup. Meanwhile, Trump and Biden are deadlocked at 40%.
A Morning Consult poll from earlier this month showed Trump receiving 46% of the Republican primary vote versus 33% for DeSantis.
Trump endorsed DeSantis in 2018, and the then-congressman went on to narrowly beat Democratic darling, Andrew Gillum.
Earlier on Saturday, Trump made a stop in Salem, New Hampshire.
“This is it. We’re starting right here as a candidate for president,” Trump told members of the New Hampshire GOP at their annual meeting.
Trump dismissed the notion that he isn’t committed to running in 2024.
“They said, ‘He’s not doing rallies, he is not campaigning. Maybe he’s lost his step,'” Trump said, then added, “I’m more angry now, and I’m more committed now than I ever was.”
During the Columbia appearance, Trump touted endorsements from Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster.