A liberal group is highlighting a schism between two prominent Republicans who may be running for President in 2024, with COVID-19 central to the divide. And a spokesperson notes it may be decision time for one of them soon.
“Soon, Gov. Ron DeSantis is going to have to make a decision — fully kiss the ring, or separate himself and infuriate Donald Trump even further,” said American Bridge 21st Century spokesperson Alexandra De Luca. “It seems like he’s choosing the latter. Let’s see how that plays out for him in 2024.”
American Bridge cited an interview with DeSantis on the Ruthless Podcast, where the Governor said he wished he had been “louder” in critiques of Donald Trump in 2020.
“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,” DeSantis said.
“I was dealing with, I mean, I had (Vice President Mike) Pence and the (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) 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 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 added before cutting off abruptly and swapping to criticism of Anthony Fauci.
The email speculates on a number of pressure points in the “fractured relationship” between DeSantis and Trump, including the Governor’s cooperation with President Joe Biden after the Surfside tragedy last year and the teased gubernatorial campaign of Trump acolyte Roger Stone.
But the recent report of tensions came after a Trump interview on One America News Network seemed to call out the Governor.
Trump, purportedly “seething” because DeSantis won’t rule out running for President, suggested earlier this week that politicians like the Governor who refuse to say whether they have gotten the booster vaccine are “gutless.”
DeSantis was asked about a potential 2024 campaign and about the dynamic with Trump during the same podcast interview, meanwhile, and he kept his comments vague.
“Don’t take the bait, and just kind of keep on keeping on,” DeSantis said.