Donald Trump has slammed Florida’s Governor Ron DeSantis as “very disloyal” as he kickstarted his 2024 White House campaign in New Hampshire and South Carolina. The 76-year-old took aim yet again at DeSantis while speaking to reporters onboard his plane yesterday. Trump said: “Ron would not have been Governor if it wasn’t for me, and that’s okay.
“He’s going to have to do what he wants to do, but he may run.
“I do think it would be a great act of disloyalty because, you know, I got him in. He had no chance. His political life was over.”
The former POTUS endorsed DeSantis in 2018 but said he has not spoken to the Florida Governor in a long time.
Trump officially launched his third successive White House bid on November 15 after an underwhelming set of midterm election results for the Republican Party.
The 45th POTUS is the only candidate to have officially entered the race, but DeSantis, ex-UN Ambassador Nikki Haley and former Vice President Mike Pence are all considering challenging the current conservative kingmaker.
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The Sunshine State’s Governor has reportedly been mulling over launching his own bid and his allies have been looking at how to modify Florida’s laws to enable the 44-year-old to run for the Republican nomination while remaining in office in Tallahassee.
Previous speculation about DeSantis’ White House ambitions led Trump to brand his Republican rival as “DeSanctimonious” during last November’s midterm election campaign.
Despite voting for DeSantis against Democratic candidate Charlie Crist, Trump also said: “If he (Mr DeSantis) did run I could tell you things about him that won’t be very flattering.
“I know more about him than anybody, other than perhaps his wife, who’s really running his campaign.”
Some opinion polls suggest DeSantis could defeat Trump in the upcoming GOP primary, especially if it ends up as a head-to-head contest.
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However, a recent Trafalgar Group survey showed the ex-POTUS opened up a 16-point lead over DeSantis, with Ms Haley languishing behind in fourth place on just 12 percent.
A Republican fundraiser suggested Trump’s narrowing lead in the polls had coincided with GOP donors jumping ship to rival candidates.
Noelle Nikpour recently told Express.co.uk: “Money is still flowing to DeSantis and the big donors are not giving to Trump but the small donors may still be giving to him.”
Despite claiming Trump would likely win the Republican primary race, a former White House insider claimed Trump cost Republicans by up to four percent in some key races last November, but DeSantis handed GOP candidates in the Sunshine State a boost by around the same margin.
Mick Mulvaney, who served as Trump’s White House chief of staff between January 2019 and March 2020, added: “When you combine that with the extraordinary talent that we have on the Republican bench, in terms of the next generation of potential leaders, it simply drives a lot of Republicans, myself included, to conclude that we don’t need Donald Trump anymore.
“We can get just as good policies, just as good leadership, without all of the baggage and we can win an election which I don’t think Donald Trump can do in 2024.”