Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis will reportedly hold an “intimate dinner” with some of his top donors this weekend amid speculation that he may announce a 2024 presidential bid.
DeSantis, riding high after his overwhelming re-election victory in November, will hold the first of what may be a series of invite-only meetings with donors this Sunday, the Washington Post reports. Invitations to the dinner reportedly make no mention of a 2024 run, however, saying only that it was an opportunity to celebrate the governor’s win with some of his “strongest supporters of him.”
The meeting comes as DeSantis is seeking to brush off speculation about a presidential run and the conflict with former President Donald Trump that comes with it. Trump already lashed out at DeSantis prior to the midterm elections, dubbing him “Ron DeSanctimonious.”
The tables turned on Election Day, however, when Trump’s candidates wildly underperformed across the country, costing Republicans control of Congress. Meanwhile, DeSantis coasted to victory by nearly 20 points in Florida.
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Trump attacked DeSantis even more aggressively following the election results, but the governor quietly took the abuse for days.
Trump slammed DeSantis as “an average REPUBLICAN Governor with great Public Relations” in a post-election day statement.
“And now, Ron DeSanctimonious is playing games! The Fake News asks him if he’s going to run if President Trump runs, and he says, ‘I’m only focused on the Governor’s race, I’m not looking into the future.’ Well, in terms of loyalty and class, that’s really not the right answer,” Trump said in the Truth Social thread after saying DeSantis came to him in 2017 in “desperate shape” ahead of his first gubernatorial election and Trump “fixed his campaign. “
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DeSantis remained silent on the issue for days until finally addressing the attacks during a press conference the same day Trump would announce his 2024 campaign. Even then, however, DeSantis didn’t call out Trump by name but lumped him in with criticism from the media.
“I think what you learn is all of that is just noise, and really what matters is are you leading, are you getting in front of issues, are you delivering results for people, and are you standing up for folks,” DeSantis said in Answer to a question about Trump. “At the end of the day I would just tell people to go check out the scoreboard from last Tuesday night.”
A new poll from Marquette Law School suggests DeSantis would now have the upper hand over Trump if he chooses to run for president, however. DeSantis enjoyed a 10-point lead over Trump among Republican-identifying voters in the poll in a 55%-45% split.
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His lead grew more drastic among the general electorate, with 63% of voters saying they would rather see DeSantis as the GOP pick over Trump, who received only 36% support in the survey.