When questioned if he would personally back former President Trump if he were to win the Republican nomination in 2024, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R) stated that he does not think it would “ultimately matter,” taking the opportunity to disparage the front-runner.
Regarding Trump’s criticism of him, a reporter questioned DeSantis, asking, “Will you 100% commit to backing Trump as the GOP nominee?”
However, DeSantis originally resisted making a clear declaration of whether he would personally endorse Trump. Instead, he initially attacked Trump’s strategy, focusing in particular on how DeSantis handled the coronavirus, before stating that the process and the people’s ultimate decision should be honored.
“So what I’d say is this: By claiming that Cuomo performed better on COVID than Florida did, you are exposing your own self-deception. Nobody thinks that,” DeSantis remarked, recalling how Trump had congratulated Florida on staying open in 2020 and 2021 and had applauded the governor’s leadership.
“At this point, his tone has abruptly changed. And all I would say is, do you think it’s credible? Do you genuinely believe that to be true? Would you prefer to have resided in the Free State of Florida or in New York throughout COVID under the Cuomo administration?” DeSantis questioned and labeled Trump’s remarks as “just frivolous criticisms.”
He went on to say that Trump is attempting to “backtrack” because he “views he should do that.”
“And he’s making false claims, so it’s okay if you wish to do that. I don’t believe people will buy it,” he remarked, refusing to say if he would back Trump. Instead, DeSantis came to the conclusion that the complaints probably won’t matter and predicted his own victory.
“I don’t believe it will be important in the end. Although I believe we will be successful, you know, you have to start these processes. I feel like beating Biden. Ok? I’ll carry it out.” DeSantis asserted, “I will get that done,” adding that he would also propose rules “for a landing.”
He remarked, emphasizing that he would, “It’s one thing to make vows, but when you fail to follow through on it.”
In response to the question, DeSantis stated that the primary is “an important process” and emphasized the need to respect it.
“I’m pretty convinced that those judgments will be advantageous for us,” he said, “but I appreciate the process as well as respect people’s decisions in how this plays out.”
Notably, the Republican National Committee (RNC) is asking eligible contenders to make a commitment to eventually support the party’s nominee before participating in debates.
Even before DeSantis officially announced his campaign, Trump continued to criticize the governor for being “disloyal.”
Trump said to Bret Baier of Fox News that “I got him elected. And I believed that his response, ‘Yes, I’d run,’ was incredibly disloyal. I advanced him in two races.”
The president identified himself as a “big loyalist.”
“Some individuals in this room advise me, ‘Sir, do not worry concerning loyalty; it means nothing in politics.’ I stated that it does to me.” He said DeSantis had come to visit him “weeping thinking he was dead” and he added “I got the man elected.”
“He may be taken out. The direction he is now heading. He is falling like a rock,” Trump declared in reference to the most recent polling results.
Trump said, “You will not ever hear me speak of him again, he might become number three or even four.”
Trump continues to lead his expanding field of rivals by double digits, according to the most recent polls.