“Governor DeSantis has made it very, very clear that he is running for reelection as governor of Florida,” Mark Meadows, who was Mr Trump’s fourth White House chief of staff, told the Washington Examiner.
In a recent straw poll by the Western Conservative Summit, Mr DeSantis narrowly bested Mr Trump as Republicans’ top choice for the 2024 presidential nominee, winning 74.1 per cent of the vote to the ex-president’s 71.4 per cent. The poll was unscientific, but it made some wonder if Mr DeSantis could actually beat Mr Trump in a Republican primary.
Mr Meadows doesn’t think it’ll ever come to that.
“I think Ron DeSantis is identified across the country now for the courage that he shows for conservative solutions, and he would be the first to say that if President Trump gets in, that he would win the nomination and would clear the field, and so I don’t ever see it being a 2016 primary scenario,” the former chief of staff said.
Neither Mr Trump nor Mr DeSantis has said he is running for president in 2024. Mr Trump has danced around the question, teasing his supporters that he is “beyond seriously” considering another campaign.
Mr DeSantis, meanwhile, has only announced that he’s running for reelection as Florida’s governor, something Mr Meadows believes the governor is solely focused on.
“He’s asked over and over and over again every time I’m in his presence – he’s been asked, ‘Are you running in 2024?’” Mr Meadows said. “His answer has been consistent: He is running for reelection for governor of the state that not only he loves, but one that is, quite frankly, well run because of his leadership.”
Helen Aguirre Ferre, director of the Florida Republican Party and Mr DeSantis’ former communications director, confirmed that the governor is concentrating on Florida.
“The campaign Governor DeSantis is focused on winning is in 2022 which he will do with a resounding victory,” Ms Ferre told The Independent.
Since becoming governor in 2019, Mr DeSantis has emerged as a rising star in the Republican Party. He is as popular among conservatives as he is loathed by liberals, and largely for the same reasons – his opposition to Covid-19 lockdowns and mask mandates, his bans against trans athletes and critical race theory, and, perhaps most of all, his steadfast loyalty to Mr Trump.
Mr Trump has returned the favor, frequently praising the governor and even saying he’d consider him as his running mate in 2024.
“I would certainly consider Ron,” the former president told Fox Business earlier this month. “He’s a great guy.”