Ron DeSantis’ government has been trying not to alienate former President Donald Trump’s voters since 2018. ABC News first reported.
The media received two and a half hours of video footage of the then congressman preparing for the debate. The footage showed DeSantis eyeing Trump’s base as he tried to carve out a seat for himself in the state where the former president was and is wildly popular.
“Are there any issues on which you disagree with President Trump?” asked Rep. Matt Goetz (R-Fla.), who has since backed Trump’s re-election campaign, in a session.
“I have to figure out how to do this,” DeSantis replied with a deep breath.
“Obviously because, I mean, I voted against him in Congress,” he said. “I have to word it in a way that doesn’t piss off all of his constituents.”
He then said that he “will do what I think is right” and will support the agenda of the then president. “If I have a disagreement, I talk to him alone,” he said.
The footage provides more insight into the governor’s complicated relationship with Trump, which has become contentious as DeSantis gears up for an expected 2024 presidential run against Trump.
In recent months, DeSantis has used his current role to pass headline-grabbing legislation, all in an attempt to draw voters away from support for Trump. He even pulled pages from the Trump campaign handbook, such as beefing up a media network friendly to his administration.
But Trump responded in a rather blunt way: in addition to constantly referring to the governor as “Ron DeSanktimonius” on social media, he convinced most of Florida’s Republican congressional delegation to support his campaign — even after the governor specifically asked some of them not to. — and then bent it in a photo shoot.
This may be part of why DeSantis reportedly is considering skipping the exploratory committee altogether for his campaign. According to ABC News, the governor “can’t wait to start making arguments to voters, touting his accomplishments, and to fight back against Trump’s many attacks.”