Former President Donald Trump continued to court his likely 2024 rival Ron DeSantis, telling Fox News that a run could hurt the Florida governor.
Speaking to Fox on his plane for an exclusive interview, Trump said he had no “tiff” with Mr DeSantis but said it would be a “mistake” to run.
“I don’t know if he runs. I think if he runs, he could hurt himself very badly. I really think he could hurt himself badly,” Trump said. “I think he would make a mistake, I think the base wouldn’t like it – I don’t think it would be good for the party.”
Mr. DeSantis won the 2018 Republican nomination for governor largely by actively appearing on Fox News and courting Trump’s endorsement, which the then-president gave.
Since his narrow victory in 2018, DeSantis has become a hero to conservatives for keeping the state of Florida largely open despite public health recommendations, signing legislation limiting how LGBTQ+ people are discussed in schools and an abortion ban. Now, DeSantis is slated to win comfortably against former congressman Charlie Crist, cementing Florida’s status as a Republican state.
But Mr. Trump has signaled at times that he would not be happy about a run by his one-time acolyte.
“Some of that is not good — you’ve got other people who will possibly run, I guess,” Trump said of Mr. DeSantis.
Similarly, during a rally in Latrobe, Pennsylvania, Trump cited a poll that showed himself in the lead and called Mr. DeSantis “Ron DeSanctimonious.”
Additionally, Mr. DeSantis did not join the former president for a meeting with Senator Marco Rubio in Miami.
Trump has said he plans to announce whether he will run next week after moving on before the election.