Former President Donald Trump is downplaying a potential Ron DeSantis presidential run in 2024, while again reminding supporters who made whom in the Trump-DeSantis dynamic.
Trump, during an interview Monday on Newsmax with Eric Bolling, continued to stoke the embers of his own 2024 bid, reminding viewers that he was “way up in the polls” and the like. However, those assurances did not dissuade the Trump-friendly Bolling from serving up a softball question about DeSantis.
“I don’t know that he wants to run. I have a good relationship with Ron. I don’t know that he wants to run. I haven’t seen it. You’re telling me something that I have not seen, so we’ll see what happens, but if he did, he did,” Trump said. “But I was very responsible for him getting elected.”
Quotes along these lines from Trump have been often repeated as DeSantis has become more of a peer figure among the grassroots GOP. Trump has also previously said he thought DeSantis would “drop out” of any 2024 race if Trump got in.
Trump continues to jab DeSantis regarding the prized endorsement in 2018. He has said as far back as last year that he wasn’t “too thrilled” about endorsing DeSantis because “people didn’t really know who he was.”
“So when Ron asked me for help, for an endorsement.” Trump added, “He was at 3(%), and 3(%) means you don’t have a chance. He went up like a rocket ship.”
Trump noted DeSantis’ chief Primary opponent, Adam Putnam, told him the endorsement was “like a nuclear weapon went off.”
“We gave up, we didn’t spend our money, it was over,” Trump quoted Putnam as saying.
“The interesting thing about me is people will always inject my name into it, just based off what I’m doing in Florida,” DeSantis said. “It’s a little bit different for me. I think there’s obviously people that, the minute 2020 ended, have been basically running, and they’re going around doing all that stuff. That’s just not what I’ve been doing. I’ve just been focusing on the task at hand.”
Also this month, DeSantis downplayed recent straw polls showing him as a leading presidential contender in 2024.
“I don’t do straw polls. They just put my name into these things, you know? It’s just, like, so what am I supposed to do? Like they sell merchandise and everything. I kind of would like to get royalties on that,” DeSantis quipped.
DeSantis continues to demonstrate a national reach with the most passionate partisans in the party.
Earlier this month, the Western Conservative Summit 2024 straw poll in Colorado saw 71% approval for a DeSantis run, four points ahead of Trump. No other candidate drew even 30% support.
A poll of 325 attendees at the Wisconsin Republican Convention, reported by WisPolitics.com, saw DeSantis receive 38% of the vote in a hypothetical 2024 GOP field that included over two dozen potential candidates. Trump was six points behind the Governor.
Closer to home, a Jacksonville straw poll held by the conservative radio station WBOB, which included over 700 respondents, saw DeSantis top Trump 53% to 47%.
DeSantis continues to surge in 2024 prediction markets. He is three cents ahead of Trump on the PredictIt General Election market.
Formal polling of a potential race, meanwhile, shows Trump is still atop the hypothetical 2024 horse race. The Club for Growth told the New York Times’ Maggie Haberman that Trump won “handily” in a series of statewide head-to-head polls of a potential Primary matchup with DeSantis.