Ron DeSantis shares his concerns about Trump in a private call with supporters – DollarJob

Ron DeSantis shares his concerns about Trump in a private call with supporters


Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis told backers of his unsuccessful presidential bid Wednesday that former President Donald Trump should not play “identity politics” when picking a 2024 running mate.

“Now we have a diverse Republican Party. I want everybody in the fold, don’t get me wrong. But I don’t want people representing 10, 15% of the party being in the driver’s seat,” DeSantis said on a call with supporters, including those who had committed to serving as delegates for him at this year’s Republican National Convention, according to audio obtained by NBC News.

“So I would want somebody that, if something happened, the people that voted us in would have been pleased to know that they’re going to continue the mission,” DeSantis added. “I’m not sure that those are going to necessarily be the criteria that Donald Trump uses. … I have heard that they’re looking more in identity politics. I think that’s a mistake. I think you should just focus on who the best person for the job would be, and then do that accordingly.”

More than 200 people joined the video call with DeSantis, according to one source who attended. The 34-minute chat, organized by DeSantis political allies, was notable for how candid — and, at times, critical — the governor was in sharing concerns about Trump, whom he endorsed for the GOP nomination immediately upon suspending his own campaign last month.

“Ron DeSantis failed miserably in his presidential campaign and does not have a voice in selecting the next vice president of the United States,” Trump spokesperson Karoline Leavitt said in response. “Rather than throw cheap shots from afar, Ron should focus on what he can do to fire [President] Joe Biden and Make America Great Again.”

A spokesperson for DeSantis declined to comment.

One Republican on the call wondered if DeSantis might be keeping options open for 2024, if Trump’s front-running campaign falls apart before the convention this summer in Milwaukee.

“The timing of this ostensibly thank you call to influential state-level Republicans the DeSantis campaign recruited to be delegates to the 2024 convention is odd,” said the Republican, who requested anonymity to share thoughts on a private call. “A month ago, sure, but now? It really seems like the governor is trying to keep the door open in the event something happens between now and Milwaukee that creates an opportunity for him to have his name put into nomination from the floor.”

Asked at one point about Trump’s intensely negative focus on him as a candidate, DeSantis seemed to blame Susie Wiles, who helped steer his successful 2018 run for governor before being cast off and eventually resurfacing as a senior adviser to the former president.

“I think he’s got people in his inner circle who were part of our orbit years ago that we fired, and I think some of that is they just have an ax to grind,” DeSantis replied. 

DeSantis also expressed concern about who Trump would surround himself with if he wins another term this fall.

“I think that how he staffs the White House, how he staffs the administration, will be really, really significant,” DeSantis said. “I think he likely is going to find people that are going to be more kind of yes men, rather than folks that are going to be pushing back.”

DeSantis then segued to a point he argued in the final weeks of his presidential campaign — that conservative media would provide no checks and balances on Trump.

“I think they have made the decision that their business model just doesn’t work if they offer any criticism of Trump,” DeSantis said. “I don’t see the accountability being in place right now for the balance of this campaign and then, if he’s able to win, to go into the White House and actually implement some of these policies.”

“I mean, he said at some point he could shoot someone on Fifth Avenue and not lose a vote,” DeSantis added. “Well, I think he could shoot someone on Fifth Avenue and the conservative media wouldn’t even report on it that it had happened.”

While assessing Trump’s vice presidential prospects, DeSantis denied any interest in being chosen. In response to another question, he acknowledged he might run for president again in 2028.

“Oh, I haven’t ruled anything out,” DeSantis said. “I mean … we’re still in this election cycle. So it’s presumptuous to say, you know, this or that. I think a lot happens in politics.”


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