Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, a once-loyal member of Donald Trump‘s court, is refusing to bend a knee to the former president and says backing him in the 2024 election ‘is too much to ask’ after Trump publicly attacked his character, according to a report.
Trump reportedly said the popular governor has ‘no personal charisma’ and a ‘dull personality’ as rumors swirl the ex-president is angry DeSantis hasn’t declined to challenge him for the GOP presidential nomination.
DeSantis, however, has told his inner circle that Trump’s ‘expectation that he bend the knee is asking too much,’ the New York Times reported.
The governor blasted back at Trump’s criticisms, accusing the ex-president of being ‘uncharacteristically out of step with the hard-line elements of his party’s base’.
Sources close to the former president who have recently talked to him about the governor said Trump has grown increasingly irked by DeSantis in recent months, with Trump beginning to voice his frustrations to those in his inner circle.
The Florida governor is extremely popular in Republican circles, and is widely seen as a leader who can push policies popularized by Trump, but without the same level of drama or baggage.
‘In the context of the 2024 election, he usually gives DeSantis a pop in the nose in the middle of that type of conversation,’ a source who recently spoke to Trump about DeSantis told Axios.
The president also claims ‘there’s no way’ DeSantis would have ever been elected Florida governor without his support.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (left), a once-loyal member of Donald Trump’s court, is refusing to bend a knee to the former president (right) and says backing him in the 2024 election ‘is too much to ask’
The two are among the most popular Republican figures in the country, and with Trump eyeing another presidential run in 2024, many political pundits believe he is irritated by DeSantis’ interest in running against him and his growing popularity.
Trump is said to be further annoyed that DeSantis won’t say he will not run against the former president if he did opt to launch another White House bid.
‘I wonder why the guy won’t say he won’t run against me,’ Trump has questioned to several associates and advisers, according to the Times.
The former president hasn’t actually announced his own bid, and isn’t expected to do so until early next year.
Those close to the former president say they expect him to launch a second White House run – but also admit Trump may choose to act as a ‘kingmaker’ for the next presidential candidate instead.
The source, who was not named or identified, said they have heard Trump regularly criticize DeSantis on more than one occasion.
Just last week, Trump appeared to take direct aim at the governor in an interview when he called politicians who refuse to disclose their booster vaccination status as ‘gutless’.
DeSantis shot back, saying his biggest regret in office is not having ‘been much louder’ in speaking out against Trump’s coronavirus pandemic response.
Trump allegedly branded popular governor as having ‘no personal charisma’ and a ‘dull personality’ as rumors swirl the ex-president is angry DeSantis hasn’t declined to challenge him for the GOP presidential nomination. The pair are pictured together at a rally in 2019
Longtime Donald Trump advisor Roger Stone attacked Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and linked to a report on a Trump-DeSantis rift with the potential 2024 rival
Donald Trump’s advisers have claimed Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (pictured) is responsible for ramping up stories of a feud between the former President and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis
More crossfire came from longtime Donald Trump advisor Roger Stone, who is dumping on DeSantis as an Ivy League ‘fat boy.’
Stone, who has known Trump for decades and advised him informally during the 2016 campaign – then got a presidential pardon following a long legal saga amid the Russia probe – tore into DeSantis following the Axios report.
‘Trump sometimes President Donald Trump hits it right on the nose. Ron DeSantis Yale Harvard fat boy can’t get out of his own way,’ he wrote.
‘Not smart. Not honest and not going to be president,’ Stone wrote on social media.
He called DeSantis, 43: ‘An unknown congressman with a bad haircut and an ill-fitting suit until Donald Trump made him governor’ – leaving out his latest job title: governor of the state, with a population of more than 20 million, where both Stone and Trump reside.
He also wrote, without explanation: ‘I know where he was when he was missing,’ in reference to a period when DeSantis was absent from public events, fueling online speculation about his whereabouts. DeSantis’ office says he was helping his wife, Casey, with her cancer treatments.
Stone tweeted an expletive about DeSantis and linked to an Axios story about the alleged Trump-DeSantis rift.
In still more kremlinology of the rift, when DeSantis blasted covid lockdowns that began under the Trump administration, he did so on a political podcast of Josh Holmes, a former top aide to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, a bitter Trump rival.
The significance of the venue was not lost on a top Trump advisor, who reflected on it in an NBC news report.
‘I like Josh. Josh is great. But he’s a wholly owned subsidiary of McConnell World. And there’s no way you can tell me that this was all a coincidence,’ said the advisor.
‘Also, DeSantis and his staff knew what they were doing. How many Florida general election voters are listening to the Ruthless podcast?’ said the advisor.
The adviser claimed McConnell sees DeSantis as a ‘lesser of two evils’ and a way to irritate Trump.
Trump and McConnell have not been on speaking terms since the Jan. 6th riot, when an angry rob ransacked the Capitol where McConnell has worked for decades.
Despite rising tensions between the two, conservatives allege both Trump and DeSantis are vital members of the Republican party.
‘DeSantis would be a formidable 2024 candidate in the Trump lane should Trump not run,’ Dan Eberhart, a Republican donor, told the Times.
‘He’s Trump but a little smarter, more disciplined and brusque without being too brusque.’
‘They’re the two most important leaders in the Republican Party,’ argued lobbyist Brian Ballard, who has connections to both men.
He also predicted Trump and DeSantis ‘will be personal and political friends for the rest of their careers’.
However, Trump reportedly views the governor as ‘ungrateful’ and argues his ‘willingness to defy him dates back several years’.
Despite his claims, insiders still believe the root of Trump’s ire towards DeSantis appears to stem from the fact that he ‘won’t say he won’t run [in 2024]. … The others have stated pretty clearly they won’t challenge him,’ the source went on to say.
DeSantis (R) sits next to Trump and Kristi Noem during a meeting with Governors elects in the Cabinet Room at the White House on December 13, 2018 in Washington, DC
‘Trump has been telling a range of aides a version of, he isn’t getting the deference from DeSantis that he wants in the pre-2024 leadup.’
The Florida governor is up for re-election this year and Trump claims he made the politician.
The former president backed then Congressman DeSantis in the Republican primary during the 2018 gubernatorial election.
DeSantis won the general election by heavily tying himself to Trump, including running TV ads where DeSantis taught his children how to ‘build the wall’ and say ‘Make America Great Again.’
‘Look, I helped Ron DeSantis at a level that nobody’s ever seen before,’ Trump told The New York Times’ Jeremy Peters for his forthcoming book, ‘Insurgency,’ on the rightward shift of the Republican Party.
Trump said he believed DeSantis ‘didn’t have a chance’ of winning without his help.
When Trump was president, DeSantis was a frequent guest at Mar-a-Lago, Trump’s private club in Palm Beach. The two would often dine together when Trump was in town.
Trump (R) listens as Florida Governor Ron DeSantis speaks ahead of the signing an executive order on lowering drug prices at the White House, in Washington, DC on July 24, 2020
Former President Donald Trump listens to Florida Governor Ron DeSantis speak about the coronavirus response during a meeting at the White House in Washington, April 28, 2020
Trump had also said he was so confident of being the GOP nominee he has said that if he runs again for president, most other Republicans would ‘drop out.’
In October, Trump bragged that if he were to run against Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, whose popularity has has soared during the pandemic, for the 2024 GOP nomination, he would easily ‘beat him’.
‘If I faced him, I’d beat him like I would beat everyone else,’ he said at the time.
‘I don’t think I will face him,’ Trump said during the interview. ‘I think most people would drop out, I think he would drop out.’
Trump made the prediction during an interview with Yahoo Finance.
The former president, who lost the 2020 general election, still remains popular and has a lot of influence among Republican voters and GOP politicians as he toys with the idea of a third run at the presidency.
‘It’s getting to a point where we really have no choice’ Trump said last month about him running.