OPINION: This article contains commentary which reflects the author’s opinion
Former President Donald Trump addressed reports that he and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis are having issues with each other during an interview on Sean Hannity’s Fox News program, Thursday evening.
Previous reporting over the past couple of weeks indicated that Trump and the popular GOP governor may be experiencing a falling out as DeSantis’ stock among GOP voters appeared to be rising as a potential presidential contender in 2024 even as Trump has been teasing another run himself.
The New York Times, for instance, reported this week:
At its core, the dispute amounts to a stand-in for the broader challenge confronting Republicans at the outset of midterm elections. They are led by a defeated former president who demands total fealty, brooks no criticism, and is determined to sniff out, and then snuff out, any threat to his control of the party.
That includes the 43-year-old DeSantis, who has told friends he believes Mr. Trump’s expectation that he bend the knee is asking too much. That refusal has set up a generational clash and a test of loyalty in the de facto capital of today’s G.O.P., one watched by Republicans elsewhere who’ve ridden to power on Mr. Trump’s coattails.
Many conservative media stars, most of whom have long been some of Trump’s most vocal supporters, have been hyping DeSantis in recent months for the governor’s rejection of Covid-related mandates and the constant hammering of President Joe Biden. But the support has increased in intensity in recent weeks, a spike easily noticeable on social media and podcasts throughout the conservative media ecosystem. That support is key in helping DeSantis further expand his footprint with influencers in Republican primary politics ahead of his 2022 reelection and as he weighs a 2024 White House bid.
Hannity went on to ask Trump, point-blank if reports claiming a feud had begun between him and DeSantis were legitimate after he said he was recently informed that DeSantis indicated that there was not “any conflict or bickering” between the two and that it was “total BS” manufactured by the media.
“Is he right?” Hannity asked.
“Well, he is right,” Trump responded. “I get along great with Ron. Ron was very good on the Mueller hoax. He was right up front along with Jim Jordan, and all of the rest of them, they were fantastic. The Republicans really stuck together. And it was a great thing. And Ron was one of them. And Ron wanted to run and I endorsed him. And that helped him greatly,” Trump said.
“And he went on and he’s done a really terrific job in Florida, and I think you know, Ron has been very good,” Trump continued. “He’s been a friend of mine for a long time. It’s totally fake news.
“I think Ron said last week, he said it very publicly, he says the press is never going to get in the middle of my friendship with Donald Trump, we’re not going to do that stuff. And he said it very strongly, I thought it was very interesting, actually. And very nice,” Trump added.
“But he said that, and I agree with him on that 100%. No, I have a very good relationship with Ron and intend to have it for a long time,” he continued.
Also, a spokesperson for DeSantis has publicly refuted the reports of a growing rift.
“It’s not a coincidence that this fabricated media narrative emerged during the worst week of Biden’s presidency to date, as it became clear Biden would not be able to deliver on Build Back Better, enact sweeping legislation to federalize elections, or ‘shut down the virus’ as he had promised during his campaign,” the spokesperson told People Magazine.
“Governor DeSantis remains focused on Florida and works every day to earn Floridians’ support for re-election in November of this year,” she added.