Trump calls reports of rift with DeSantis ‚fake news,‘ intends to have good relationship ‚for a long time‘
Former President Donald Trump said media reports of a conflict between him and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, R., were „totally fake news“ on Thursday, saying he intended to have a good relationship with him for the foreseeable future.
During Trump’s phone interview on „Hannity,“ host Sean Hannity relayed that DeSantis said there was no conflict or bickering between the two when he met recently with one of Hannity’s friends.
„Is he right?“ Hannity asked.
„Well, he is right,“ Trump said, praising DeSantis for his work when he served in the House combating the Russia collusion narrative that dominated coverage of his presidency.
„The Republicans really stuck together, and it was a great thing, and Ron was one of them, and Ron wanted to run [for governor], and I endorsed him, and that helped him greatly, and he went on, and he’s done a really terrific job in Florida,“ Trump said. „Ron has been very good. He’s been a friend of mine for a long time. It’s totally fake news.“
Trump said he was interested to see DeSantis also speak out strongly against the reports from such outlets as the New York Times and Axios, which have written Trump has privately groused about DeSantis not publicly ruling out a 2024 bid for the presidency. DeSantis embraced Trump and won his endorsement in his 2018 Florida gubernatorial run, riding it to a primary victory before narrowly defeating Democrat Andrew Gillum in the general election.
LAKELAND, FLORIDA, UNITED STATES – 2021/05/28: Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks at a press conference at LifeScience Logistics to urge the Biden administration to approve Florida’s plan to import prescription drugs from Canada, thereby saving Floridians an estimated $100 million annually on drug costs. (Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
„I have a very good relationship with Ron and intend to have it for a long time,“ Trump said.
DeSantis, who is running for re-election this year, has seen his popularity surge among Republican voters in his state and around the nation over the past year and a half, thanks in large part to his pushback against COVID-19 restrictions amid the coronavirus pandemic.
After Trump recently said in an interview that politicians who won’t publicly say whether they’ve received a COVID vaccine booster shot are „gutless“ – which was widely seen as a shot at DeSantis – the governor appeared to return fire in an interview on the popular conservative podcast „Ruthless.“ DeSantis said he should have been „much louder“ in trying to convince Trump to oppose lockdowns as the pandemic was sweeping the nation in February and March 2020.
And the governor touted that „when COVID was first coming… I was telling Trump ‘stop the flights from China’ because we didn’t know what we were dealing with.“ DeSantis shut down Florida as the pandemic engulfed the nation, but was also one of the first governors in 2020 to lift coronavirus restrictions.
Trump has predicted that if he runs for the White House again, DeSantis won’t run. The governor has deflected when asked about 2024, and DeSantis blamed the media for talk of any tensions with the former president.
Former U.S. President Donald Trump reacts as he holds a rally in Florence, Arizona, U.S., January 15, 2022. (REUTERS/Carlos Barria)
„I think this is what the media does, and you cannot fall for the bait. You know what they’re trying to do. Don’t take the bait, and just kind of keep on keeping on. We need everybody united for a big red wave in 2022,“ the governor argued.
In an interview with Yahoo Finance last year, Trump said if he ran again and DeSantis also pursued the 2024 nomination, he’d „beat him like I would beat everyone else.“
Trump has been noncommittal about a third run for the presidency, telling Hannity he’d let people know at a later date. He again seemed to hint he would, though, saying he would make Hannity and others „happy“ with his decision.