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There are multiple reports that tensions between former President Donald Trump and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) are intensifying ahead of a potential 2024 clash.
In private, Trump is trashing DeSantis as an ingrate with a “dull personality” and no realistic chance of beating him in the 2024 primary, Axios reported.
“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 told Axios, adding that Trump makes a point of saying he isn’t worried about the Florida governor as a potential opponent.
“He says DeSantis has no personal charisma and has a dull personality.”
The reason for Trump’s irritation with DeSantis? “Ron DeSantis won’t say he won’t run [in 2024],” a second source told the outlet.
“The others have stated pretty clearly they won’t challenge him.”
Several of Trump’s associates and advisors spoke to the New York Times on the condition of anonymity, saying that the former president has been questioning why DeSantis hasn’t said “the magic words” — that he won’t challenge Trump in 2024.
“I wonder why the guy won’t say he won’t run against me,” Trump said, according to the report.
“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,” reporter Maggie Haberman recently wrote on Twitter.
Trump’s remarks come after he appeared to take a shot at DeSantis last week for refusing the reveal his COVID-19 booster status.
“The answer is yes, but they don’t want to say it, because they’re gutless,” Trump said in an interview with One America News Network. “You got to say it. Whether you had it or not, say it.”
DeSantis has reportedly told friends he believes Trump’s expectation that he “bend the knee” is asking too much.
During an interview on the Ruthless podcast, DeSantis said one of his biggest regrets was not forcefully opposing Trump’s calls for lockdowns at the start of the pandemic in the spring of 2020.
“Knowing now what I know then, if that was a threat earlier, I would have been much louder,” he said. He had been “telling Trump ‘stop the flights from China'” but argued that he never thought that the coronavirus “would lead to locking down the country.”
However, the governor has dismissed the notion that there’s tension between him and Trump, blaming the media for fanning the flames.
“You cannot fall for the bait,” DeSantis said on the Ruthless podcast. “You know what they’re trying to do, so just don’t take it. Just keep on keeping on. We need everybody united for a big red wave in 2022. We’ve got to fight the left, and not only fight, but beat the left. And that’s what we’re doing in Florida.”
DeSantis has tried to tamp down speculation about his ambitions for 2024. He officially kicked off his 2022 reelection bid in November and has said that he’s focused on the governor’s mansion.