- Many Republicans consider Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis a likely presidential candidate in 2024.
- Trump has talked more about DeSantis than other potential GOP candidates, per NYT’s Maggie Haberman.
- The former president believes “he made” DeSantis, Haberman told CNN.
No other potential GOP candidate for the 2024 election is on former President Donald Trump’s mind than Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, according to New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman.
“There is no potential candidate in the Republican field who Trump has talked about more to his aides than Ron DeSantis,” Haberman told CNN in an interview on Tuesday about her new book, “Confidence Man: The Making of Donald Trump and the Breaking of America.” “It is a constant running discussion.”
CNN also played a recording from one of three interviews Haberman conducted with Trump for her book. In the clip, Trump credited himself for boosting DeSantis to Florida’s governorship after endorsing the latter in 2018.
“He came to me, he said, ‘I’d love your endorsement,'” Trump said in the recording. “I said, ‘Ron, you’re at 3%. You can’t win.’ He said, ‘If you endorse me, I can.'”
Trump has long claimed credit for DeSantis’ win and even said during a Newsmax interview in June that he was “very responsible” for DeSantis becoming Florida’s governor. In that interview, Trump also said that he did not know if DeSantis intended to run for the White House but said he had a “good relationship with Ron.”
However, reports of the duo’s behind-the-scenes relationship tend to differ from Trump’s characterization of the issue.
In September, two sources close to Trump told Rolling Stone that Trump was nervous about DeSantis getting attention from a political stunt he pulled, which involved chartering two planes to transport 50 migrants to Martha’s Vineyard. According to the sources, Trump was irritated about DeSantis getting credit for the stunt and complained to aides that the Florida governor had timed the act to boost his profile among the Republican base.
Trump has also reacted negatively to the implication that DeSantis might run against him to try to secure the 2024 GOP presidential nomination. In July, the former president lashed out at “Fox & Friends” for mentioning a poll that showed DeSantis ahead of him, accusing the show’s hosts of going “to the dark side.” In September, Trump took another swipe at DeSantis, sharing an Insider article about his polling lead over DeSantis.
For his part, DeSantis has not publicly rebuked Trump. However, the Florida governor has been fundraising for his war chest and has launched a campaign to sell a gold “Florida First Fighter” card that resembles the Trump Card.
While DeSantis and Trump appear to be the leading contenders for the 2024 Republican presidential ticket, neither has made a formal declaration about entering the race.
In July, a DeSantis representative told Insider that DeSantis was “focused on Florida and running for reelection as governor this year.” Meanwhile, Trump’s former senior adviser Kellyanne Conway told CBS News on Friday that Trump “would like to” announce that he is running for president again after the midterms and before Thanksgiving.
“I will tell you why he wants to run for president,” Conway said. “Donald Trump wants his old job back.”
Represenatives for DeSantis and a spokesman at Trump’s post-presidential press office did not immediately respond to Insider’s requests for comment.