Matt Gaetz warns Ron DeSantis against challenging Donald Trump

'This is no time for amateurs or impersonators or understudies.'

Matt Gaetz issued the strongest statements yet regarding Ron DeSantis and his political debt to Donald Trump Saturday.

Warming up the crowd in Waco, Texas for Trump, Gaetz made it clear that DeSantis would be ill-advised to challenge Trump in the 2024 Republican Presidential Primaries.

Gaetz noted Trump did three rallies for DeSantis in 2018, and if he hadn’t, “my Governor today would probably be Andrew Gillum. How weird is that?”

Gaetz also singled out Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, noting that “patriots of the MAGA movement delivered for you in your time of need. Today, Ron DeSantis and Ted Cruz should endorse Donald Trump for president and stand with us as we were so proud to stand with them.”

“This is no time for amateurs or impersonators or understudies. There is no success without victory and there is no Trumpism in 2024 without Donald J. Trump,” Gaetz added.

Gaetz himself was a key DeSantis supporter and surrogate in 2018, but the breach between the former allies is now pretty clear.

In a recent NewsNation interview, Gaetz griped about DeSantis’ unwillingness to offer Trump protection against an indictment and chastised DeSantis as “uncouth” for taking a “jab” at Trump’s legal circumstances.

“If I were Governor of Florida, I would not allow any Floridian to be hauled before some George Soros-backed prosecutor in some blue city over politics. And I wouldn’t make an exception to not protect the President of the United States,” Gaetz contended.

“Ron DeSantis should be standing in the breach to stop any sort of extradition of President Trump from the state of Florida.”

The DeSantis/Gaetz rift has been years in the making. Asked about Gaetz’s own legal complications in 2021, which ultimately led to no charges, DeSantis said he didn’t “have anything to say.”

Gaetz accompanied DeSantis on a three-stop tour of cities in June 2018, joining DeSantis during question and answer sessions at those events. He also accompanied DeSantis to at least one debate during the primary campaign.

And once the Primary was in the rearview, Gaetz only got rougher with DeSantis’ General Election opponent.

“I don’t know whether to call him Andrew Gillum or ‘Andrew Kill-‘em,’” Gaetz said during an October campaign event with DeSantis in Southwest Florida of DeSantis’ then opponent. The joke was about Tallahassee’s murder rate, but critics saw it as just another in a series of racial gaffes from the DeSantis side.

Gillum was under scrutiny at the time from the FBI, which was investigating larger issues in Tallahassee. Gaetz suggested a better name for the Democratic nominee would be “Andrew Guilty.”

Gaetz and DeSantis were fixtures at events not just in Gaetz’s home in the Panhandle, but throughout the state. He ended up with a plum prize, of course, a prominent role on the Governor’s transition team.

But since that halcyon era of cooperation, distance has emerged between the Governor and a once key ally.

A.G. Gancarski

A.G. Gancarski has written for since 2014. He is based in Northeast Florida. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter: @AGGancarski


  • Earl Pitts American

    March 26, 2023 at 9:35 am

    Good morning America,
    Matt is doing a great job in keeping the desperate left off balance. The left knows that like bad little birdies they have really p00ped in their nest this time around.
    Keep it up Matt once I, Earl Pitts American, get Don and Ron installed in the White House you are looking at first pick of a plum ambasadorship to the country of your choice. Futhermore if you keep your nose clean and do as your are told I may consider you for Ron’s Veep 4 years later.
    Thanks again Matt for keeping the pot stirred up to keep the left off balance. Oh and by the way Matt I could use your help in discrediting those anoying ankle biters with The Lincoln Project. See what kind of dirt you can dig up on those lame @55 RINO’s and get back with me.
    Thank you America and Thank you Matt,
    Earl Pitts American

  • Jay Smif

    March 26, 2023 at 10:26 am

    Dear Christ, this was especially pathetic sniveling, Earl, you sad, desperate, bootlicking conservative monkey.

    • TJC

      March 26, 2023 at 11:13 am

      I wonder if Earl Pitts American is a sly joke. The original radio personality, Earl Pitts, was a stereotype southern redneck caricature, a comedy routine by Gary Burbank. This could be clever trolling of the right.

  • TJC

    March 26, 2023 at 11:15 am

    ‘This is no time for amateurs or impersonators or understudies.’ Says the amateur, impersonator, understudy Matt Gaetz.

  • tom palmer

    March 26, 2023 at 6:21 pm

    Actually, if DeSantis had lost, Gillum’s lt. gov. would be governor and he seemed to be better qualified than Gillum anyway.

  • PeterH

    March 27, 2023 at 12:37 am

    Republicans trashing Republicans!

    Bless their tiny miserable hearts!

Comments are closed.


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