The Governor addressed the 2024 question in an interview with the right-of-center Ruthless Podcast. He also faced a question about his dynamic with Trump, which is increasingly a matter of speculation. But on both matters, he danced around giving direct answers.
After promoting his gubernatorial re-election website, DeSantis pivoted to facing, yet again, the question of why a subset of Republicans believe he should be their standard bearer. DeSantis repeated his explanation that people respond to the fact he takes action.
“I just do my job. But I think what people see, quite frankly, Republicans, they want to see people actually lead and get things done and fight back. And that’s what we’ve done. We’ve had to do it tooth and nail. We don’t back down from anybody. And we do things. And so, I don’t just wait for things to happen,” DeSantis said. “We’re out front.”
DeSantis cited his antagonism to the Mexican border policy of President Joe Biden as an example of what Republicans are responding to, citing specifically a proposal to slot money from the next budget to send undocumented immigrants to Delaware, Biden’s home state.
DeSantis then deflected a question about his relationship with former President Trump.
“I think this is what the media does, and you cannot fall for the bait. You know what they’re trying to do. Don’t take the bait, and just kind of keep on keeping on. We need everybody united for a big red wave in 2022,” DeSantis said.
Some political adversaries, including Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried, have suggested Trump could “destroy” DeSantis, noting the former President needled “gutless” politicians about not disclosing whether or not they’ve gotten a booster for COVID-19. The Governor has not said definitively whether he has gotten the booster shot or not.
Trump has predicted that if he runs for President again, DeSantis will not run. But DeSantis has not promised not to 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.
DeSantis did allude to Trump in identifying his biggest mistake.
““What could you do, you know, earlier? I think like, when COVID was first coming, we were actually engaged in it. I was telling Trump, ‘Stop the flights from China,’ because we didn’t know what we were dealing with. But, you know, I never thought in February, early March, that it would lead to locking down the country. I just didn’t. I didn’t think that was on the radar. I was dealing with, I mean I had Pence and the CDC director down in Port Everglades talking about cruise ships the second week of March. And no one was talking about shutting down the country. And I think if knowing now what I knew then, if that was a threat earlier, I would’ve been much louder about, you know, trying to say, ‘This is not,'” DeSantis said on the same podcast.
Trump has a rally in Arizona this evening, and he may well have something to say about the Governor’s remarks.