Thu. May 30th, 2024

DeSantis opens door to Trump truce as he weighs political future

Samantha Parker By Samantha Parker May16,2024

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) is taking steps to thaw relations with former President Trump, his primary-season rival, as he considers his next political move — including another potential White House bid in 2028.

DeSantis met with Trump in a private meeting in Miami over the weekend, the first time he had spoken with the former president since dropping out of the White House race following disappointing showings in the early-voting states.

The meeting underscores DeSantis’s need to repair relations with Trump if he intends to run for another office in the future, something many say is likely. 

“It’s a win-win for both of them,” said Ford O’Connell, a Florida Republican strategist. “Trump can use as many strong fundraisers and strong messengers as possible, and I think being in Trump’s good graces bodes well for DeSantis’s political future.” 

“It’s really that simple,” he added. 

Florida Republicans say unity between the two was somewhat expected, but much needed given the political climate going into the general election. 

“As a Republican who wants to see the party unite together to defeat Joe Biden, I was pleased that the two former opponents were able to meet face to face,” said Justin Sayfie, a Florida Republican strategist. 

The former president confirmed the meeting in a Truth Social post Monday, saying he was “very happy to have the full and enthusiastic support” of DeSantis. 

“The conversation mostly concerned how we would work closely together to MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN,” Trump wrote. “Also discussed was the future of Florida, which is FANTASTIC! I greatly appreciate Ron’s support in taking back our Country from the Worst President in the History of the United States. November 5th is a BIG DAY!!!”

The meeting signals a thaw in Trump and DeSantis’s previously frosty relationship, which took a turn for the worst following DeSantis’s decision to challenge Trump for the Republican presidential nomination. Trump relentlessly targeted DeSantis over the course of the primary campaign, labeling him “DeSanctimonious,” among other things.

But DeSantis and Trump were not always campaign rivals. The Florida governor tied himself to the president during his first gubernatorial campaign in 2018 and campaigned for Trump’s reelection bid in 2020. By then, DeSantis was already seen as a top rising Republican star, earning praise from conservatives, including Trump, for his handling of the coronavirus pandemic. 

By the time the 2022 midterms rolled around, Trump and his allies were closely watching DeSantis as he oversaw a successful election for Florida Republicans while a blue wave swept across much of the rest of the country.

By the time DeSantis officially jumped into the presidential race in May 2023, some observers speculated that he could surpass Trump as the new GOP standard-bearer.  

Ultimately, though, the former governor’s campaign failed to live up to expectations. He faced constant negative press over his often stilted performances on the campaign trail and consistently polled behind Trump leading up to the Iowa caucuses. 

After coming in a distant second to Trump in Iowa, he dropped out of the race just days before the New Hampshire primary, leaving many asking what the 45-year-old governor would do next. 

“DeSantis really, I think, hurt himself with that campaign in terms of the future,” said one Republican strategist. “The best way that he can revitalize or reenergize his brand is by being as close to Trump as possible.” 

And the two men have much in common, coming from the same wing of the GOP and sharing a support base of voters and donors. 

“There’s a lot of crossover between Trump presidential donors and DeSantis gubernatorial donors, too,” O’Connell said. 

Republican donor Dan Eberhart supported DeSantis during the Republican primary but switched his support to Trump following the governor’s decision to drop out. 

“No other governor has accomplished more for the conservative cause than Gov. DeSantis,” Eberhart said. “If Trump wasn’t running, DeSantis would be the nominee.” 

DeSantis supporters argue that his fundraising prowess and star power among conservatives will be a major factor in ultimately rallying and unifying the conservative base ahead of November. 

While recent polling has shown Trump narrowly leading President Biden, the former president has trailed the current president in fundraising. Biden ended last quarter with $155 million in the bank compared to Trump’s $42 million. But filings from last quarter suggested Trump and his allies are working to close that gap with Biden. 

“Trump’s fundraising numbers could certainly use a DeSantis boost,” Eberhart said. 

The detente between Trump and DeSantis in South Florida comes as Democrats increasingly eye the Sunshine State as part of their broader electoral map strategy. Vice President Harris is set to visit the state this week to highlight the state’s six-week abortion ban, which was signed into law by DeSantis and is set to go into effect. 

While most Republicans say the chances of Democrats winning Florida are slim, their strategy of targeting the state forces Republicans to spend money there when they could target other states. Some Republicans argue that the show of unity between Trump and DeSantis, who both call Florida home, will help offset those efforts. 

“In Florida right now, at least at this stage, Republicans are marching in lockstep together,” O’Connell said. “I think [Democrats] were looking for some chinks in the armor, and they’re not finding it in Florida, at least not certainly in this cycle.” 

Samantha Parker

By Samantha Parker

Samantha is a seasoned journalist with a passion for uncovering the truth behind the headlines. With years of experience in investigative reporting, she has covered a wide range of topics including politics, crime, and entertainment. Her in-depth analysis and commitment to factual accuracy make her a respected voice in the field of journalism.

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2 thoughts on “DeSantis opens door to Trump truce as he weighs political future”
    1. Yes, their alliance could definitely have a significant impact on the upcoming elections. The unity between DeSantis and Trump could strengthen their base and mobilize more supporters to rally behind their political agenda. It will be interesting to see how this alliance plays out in shaping the future political landscape.

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