The apparent snub angered some people within DeSantis’ orbit, who complained that the Florida governor’s team was not informed of the rally prior to Trump announcing it. The timing of the Trump and Rubio event means any campaign event DeSantis holds that day won’t get as much attention during the all-important final stretch of the 2022 midterms.
“You’ve got the Sunday before Election Day totally hijacked by Trump parachuting in on Trump Force One taking up the whole day,” said a longtime Republican consultant who is close to the governor. “No Republican could go to a DeSantis event that day. None. And DeSantis won’t be here? This is big.
Another person who is influential in DeSantis’ world said it was “an elbow to Ron’s throat” and blamed Trump advisers.
DeSantis is comfortably ahead of the hapless former Republican governor-turned-Democrat Charlie Crist, so it’s not a leg breaker. But it’s certainly more than a shot across the bow.
One Trump advisor insisted there was no conflict between the former president and governor.
“This is an event President Trump is holding as part of a series of stops he is making for Republican Senate candidates,” the adviser said. “It came after he and Senator Rubio spoke directly.”
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But not to Ron DeSantis. You’d think if the former president was going to visit a state with a Republican governor that the courtesy of an invitation could be extended. Not so in this case.
Trump and DeSantis are in a cold war of sorts, with both possible competitors publicly downplaying any conflict. But there have been signs that their relationship is strained, including DeSantis declining to ask for the former president’s endorsement this year and Trump over the winter calling politicians who wouldn’t say if they got the Covid-19 booster “gutless” — a comment widely viewed as being directed at DeSantis, who vacillated on the issue when asked.
And Trump has privately questioned DeSantis’ loyalty while also raising questions about whether DeSantis is personable enough to win over voters.
Trump has often taken credit for DeSantis’ success, claiming his endorsement of the Florida governor ahead of the 2018 GOP primary against Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam pushed DeSantis over the edge. Trump has endorsed many other Florida Republicans on this year’s ballot including Attorney General Ashley Moody and Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis.
Republicans in Florida are set to destroy the Democrats in the midterm elections. From top to bottom, state and local GOP candidates are dominating, and the coming bloodletting is going to set Florida Democrats back at least a decade.
When Ron DeSantis took office in 2018, Florida was still a swing state. It’s now bright red, thanks at least in part to DeSantis. The coming tussle with Trump will likely define the party into the next generation and beyond.