One of Gaetz’s congressional colleagues called the Panhandle Republican out for sending out fundraising pitches tied to removing McCarthy, and DeSantis told Fox News’ Neil Cavuto that he wasn’t comfortable with the prospect of a politician fundraising off of the removal push.
“Well, look, when I see the Republican Congressman pointing out that there’s a lot of fundraising going on around that, you know, that makes me uncomfortable,” DeSantis said.
“I think when you’re doing things, you need to be doing it because it’s the right thing to do. It shouldn’t be done with an eye towards trying to generate lists or trying to generate fundraising,” he added. “And so that is not the way I would operate.”
The Governor’s rebuke of Gaetz, who was central to his successful 2018 campaigns against Adam Putnam and Andrew Gillum, is yet another sign that a dynamic that served both men five years ago has long since been exhausted.
Gaetz helped DeSantis with debate prep in 2018, as footage leaked to ABC News revealed. Gaetz advised him to employ a “likable, dismissive tone … not condescending.”
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.
While the Gaetz-DeSantis dynamic persisted into 2019, with the Congressman serving as part of the gubernatorial transition, it soon enough frayed amid political troubles and legal complications for Gaetz. Asked about his former ally at a press conference, DeSantis said he didn’t “have anything to say.”
For his part, Gaetz was an early and has been an enthusiastic backer of Trump’s 2024 campaign, advising DeSantis and others not to run.
“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 said in March.