Former President Donald Trump recently commented on the possibility of Florida Governor Ron DeSantis challenging him in the 2024 presidential race.
In a Monday interview on the podcast The Water Cooler, Trump was asked by interviewer David Brody if it would be a “bad move” for DeSantis to enter the race.
“So you know, now I hear he might want to run against me,” Trump said. “So, we’ll handle that the way I handle things.”
The former president boasted that his endorsing DeSantis in 2018 gave him a significant boost in the Florida gubernatorial election, resulting in a DeSantis win.
“I got him elected, pure and simple,” Trump said. “And there was no reason to go wild about endorsing him.”
While DeSantis has yet to announce a run for president, many Republicans have speculated he could be a potential frontrunner.
In a December Wall Street Journal poll of Republican voters, DeSantis led Trump 52% to 38%.
Another December poll by USA Today and Suffolk University found that 56% of respondents would vote for DeSantis in 2024 and 33% would vote for Trump.
“Republicans and conservative independents increasingly want Trumpism without Trump,” surmised David Paleologos, director of the Suffolk University Political Research Center.
Texas Republicans prefer DeSantis over Trump by more than 10 percentage points according to a November survey conducted by the Republican Party of Texas.
The survey asked voters:
“If the upcoming 2024 Republican Primary were held today, and the candidates were Donald Trump, Ron DeSantis, Tim Scott, Mike Pompeo, Nikki Haley, and Mike Pence, for whom would you vote?”
Of the 1,099 respondents, 43% said they would vote for Ron DeSantis, while 32% said they would vote for Donald Trump.
Mike Pence earned 5%, Nikki Haley received 4%, and Tim Scott and Mike Pompeo earned 1% each. The remaining 13% of respondents said they were undecided.
DeSantis has also been celebrated by Texas Republican leaders, including state party chair Matt Rinaldi, who said earlier this month, “Ron DeSantis in Florida [has] stood up and gone on offense against corporations like Disney who receive special favors from the government while taking harmful positions on social issues.”