A new report from Vanity Fair aggregates even more evidence Gov. Ron DeSantis wants to be President.
“2016 on steroids” depicts a DeSantis who is angling very directly for 2024, in such a way that former President Donald Trump is purportedly riled, yet ready to pick him as a running mate.
At issue are the early days of 2024 jockeying in a race that, as Vanity Fair describes, is “either entirely wide open or over before it begins.” The big question is whether Trump will again run for President.
With that question mark, it appears DeSantis may be hedging his bets, campaigning for the top job, but also positioned for the Vice Presidential spot at the same time.
“Trump f***ing hates DeSantis. He just resents his popularity,” one unidentified “Trump confidant” told Vanity Fair’s Gabriel Sherman.,
Sherman also claims former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s “people are building up DeSantis as the leader of the Republican Party to piss Trump off,” and offered some takes on how DeSantis may have aggrieved Trump, who has claimed for years, according to Vanity Fair, that he “made Ron” a viable contender for Governor.
Among the purported grievances: DeSantis prematurely committed Trump to speak at the Florida GOP Statesman’s Dinner in 2019; he didn’t close beaches in 2020 despite Trump’s wishes; and the Governor skipped a Trump rally while appearing instead with President Joe Biden in Surfside after the Champlain Tower South collapse.
Also worth noting, Trump continues to work with Susie Wiles, the veteran politico who was instrumental to DeSantis’ win in 2018 but was jettisoned unceremoniously by DeSantis soon after.
The Vanity Fair writeup suggests DeSantis will continue to be coy about his ultimate goal.
“DeSantis needs to walk a tightrope as he seeks to position himself for a 2024 run. According to a source, DeSantis has told donors that he won’t openly campaign in Iowa or New Hampshire before his 2022 Florida reelection campaign,” Sherman writes.
Ultimately, at least one Sherman source expects Trump to offer DeSantis VP, a historically thankless slot in the Trump orbit if Mike Pence‘s experience is any guide.
Also on display is a depiction of what DeSantis does when slighted. He reportedly bailed on the Republican Governor’s Association meeting, where Nikki Haley was to speak, to address his own cadre of donors miles away.
Florida Politics asked the question four times, but DeSantis did not want to discuss the sojourn to New Jersey.
The New Jersey Globe reports the “high dollar event in Deal hosted by real estate developer Joe Cayre” was DeSantis’ second Garden State getaway since April.
2022 gubernatorial opponents took notice.
“This isn’t the first time he’s abandoned sick and dying Floridians to cash grab for his campaign out-of-state. It’s unacceptable and inexcusable. He clearly values political money more than his job protecting Floridians,” said Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried, a candidate for the Democratic nomination for Governor.
“Ron DeSantis cares more about out-of-state dollars than he cares about in-state human beings,” tweeted U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist.
The Vanity Fair piece depicts DeSantis as the front-runner, but invokes examples of other collapsed former front-runners, such as Wisconsin footnote Scott Walker, a Governor who like DeSantis stoked passions on the right some years back.
DeSantis is cooling also with people who are actually betting on 2024 Presidential races this early.
Boyle Sports sounded a warning this week about his Republican Primary odds with a piece entitled, “Punters Abandon Ron DeSantis White House Bid As Odds Drift To 4/1 From 2/1.”
A spokesperson for Boyle explained the exodus.
“Ron DeSantis has been a very popular feature of our early 2024 betting, but in recent days we’re beginning to notice evidence that opinion is starting to turn. COVID-19 rates in Florida are trending in the wrong direction and with DeSantis eased out to 4/1 from 2/1, punters are now looking at Donald Trump as the most likely Republican candidate.”
Questions abound, meanwhile, about whether DeSantis could even carry Florida if he was atop the ticket. A new Quinnipiac Poll suggests nearly 60% of Floridians don’t want him to run for President.
Of the 833 registered Florida voters surveyed, in what was an R+2 poll, 59% don’t want DeSantis to run for President, while just 35% back the concept.
Not even all Republicans want to see it. While 67% are open to a President DeSantis, a full 24% aren’t. A full 61% of independent voters are opposed, also, with just 35% backing a DeSantis 2024 run.