Why the Trump-DeSantis truce may not last

It's not off to a great start.

Jan 24, 2024 - 08:23
Why the Trump-DeSantis truce may not last

MANCHESTER, New Hampshire — A truce settled in between Gov Ron DeSantis and his chief antagonist, Donald Trump, after the governor bowed out of the 2024 race and endorsed the former president.

At least initially.

Trump and his allies, hours after the Florida governor dropped out, appeared to offer DeSantis an olive branch of sorts. Trump told supporters in New Hampshire that he was retiring the disparaging nickname “Ron DeSanctimonious” and his son Don Trump., Jr. on Monday said he could envision DeSantis working in his father's White House.

DeSantis, however, made it clear Monday night that he’ll only go so far when it comes to showing unity.

In a stunning post on X, he reminded the GOP-controlled Legislature who was in charge of Florida's agenda by resharing POLITICO’s story about a proposal that would have offered up to $5 million in state taxpayer dollars to pay for Trump's legal bills — and threatening to veto it.

DeSantis wrote that the “Florida Republican who wields the veto pen” didn’t support the measure, and it was soon withdrawn by the sponsor.

The legislation was pushed by state Sen. Ileana Garcia, a Miami Republican who endorsed Trump’s reelection, and supported by the state’s Chief Financial Officer, Jimmy Patronis. Patronis never endorsed DeSantis and only publicly supported Trump after the governor suspended his campaign.

Neither DeSantis nor Trump’s teams replied to questions about their relationship or whether the two men had talked since DeSantis called it quits.

It’s also not clear whether DeSantis will campaign for Trump, as three other has-rans did in New Hampshire Monday night, or whether the governor might warm to the idea of serving in a GOP administration that isn’t his own, particularly given that he’ll term limit out as governor in 2026. Trump himself seemed less sold on the idea in a Fox News interview on Sunday, calling it “highly unlikely.”

It's hard to believe it’ll ever go back to the way things were. Right before dropping out of the presidential race, DeSantis told New Hampshire Today that he didn’t think Trump stood a shot at winning the general election and said he’d still have challenged the former president even knowing how it would all turn out for him. In one of the most charged attacks against Trump in Iowa, DeSantis accused the former president of only liking Republicans — even “worthless” ones — who “kiss the ring.”

Those comments followed months of sniping between the 2024 rivals. While DeSantis initially held off attacking Trump, he changed tactics in recent months and challenged the former president over how his policies fell short. Trump, meanwhile, hurled childish and emasculating — but arguably effective — insults at the governor. (The New York Times recapped many of them, just in case anyone lost track.)

Whether Florida’s two most powerful Republicans reach a peace accord has yet to be seen. But given how both men are known for holding grudges, it seems unlikely anything will be settled soon.

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