When news broke that Donald Trump was tweaking Gov. Ron DeSantis over evading questions about his COVID-19 booster vaccine, Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried exulted in a tweet: “It’s happening!”
Earlier this week, Trump urged “gutless” politicians to say whether they had gotten the shot. Those comments were widely interpreted as a dig at DeSantis, who only has said he has had the “normal shot” when asked if he had gotten a booster.
Fried thinks the booster shot back-and-forth is only the beginning of issues between the Governor and his erstwhile political patron. In Jacksonville Thursday for gubernatorial campaign events, Fried predicted the former President would complicate DeSantis’ re-election prospects, potentially trying to “destroy” the Governor.
“What I think is going to happen is we all know President Trump wants to run for President again, and so does Gov. DeSantis. And so you’re going to have two individuals that are going to hit heads,” Fried said.
Fried was not finished prognosticating.
“And Trump is not somebody who’s going to sit back. He created DeSantis. And he fundamentally believes that he can destroy DeSantis.”
Trump certainly has taken credit for the Governor’s political rise.
In multiple rallies and interviews since DeSantis was elected in 2018, Trump has told the story of DeSantis beseeching a then-reluctant President for an endorsement against Adam Putnam, the former Agriculture Commissioner whose campaign was derailed by Trump shaking up the Governor’s race.
Trump has predicted that if he runs for President again, DeSantis will not run. But DeSantis has not promised he will not run for President, apparently irking Trump. Instead, DeSantis has tended to deflect the question.
“It’s way down the road. It’s not anything that I’m planning for,” DeSantis said during a Fox News Channel appearance last fall.
Despite DeSantis saying he’s not interested, prediction and betting markets have rated him consistently as the top non-Trump 2024 possibility for Republicans.