Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who has been rumored to be considering a run for president in 2024, is facing doubts from key donors concerned about his chances against former President Donald Trump. According to a recent NBC News report, DeSantis’ potential campaign may be “missing its moment” due to rising tensions with Trump and questions about whether he can withstand a primary battle against the GOP giant.
At a luncheon event in Palm Beach, Florida, 16 prominent Republican donors reportedly expressed their admiration for DeSantis but shared deep concerns about his recent criticisms of Trump and his ability to handle the political heavyweight in a head-to-head contest. One attendee allegedly stated, “They thought on balance that his long-term future was better without him trying to take Trump head on.” Another source added, “He will get scarred up” by Trump.
DeSantis on Trump indictment: “We are not involved in this, won’t be involved in this.” Calls it a ‘manufactured circus’ by a Soros DA. Adds “I’ve gotta spent my time on issues that actually matter to people, I’m fighting for Floridians” pic.twitter.com/w4ogMxiwM3
— Jack Posobiec (@JackPosobiec) March 20, 2023
Some of DeSantis’ donors and allies are worried that his recent missteps indicate he may not be ready for a brutal fight against Trump. They feel that DeSantis needs to speed up his campaign for the GOP presidential nomination and start directly confronting Trump to have any chance of stopping the former president’s momentum. Others believe DeSantis should avoid challenging Trump and wait until 2028 to run for president.
BREAKING NEWS: Gov. Ron DeSantis roasts former President Trump for Stormy Daniels drama: “I don’t know what goes into paying hush money to a porn star to secure silence over some type of alleged affair…” pic.twitter.com/KL2RW3ST9j
— Forbes (@Forbes) March 20, 2023
One Republican strategist suggested that DeSantis’ current “shadow campaign,” which involves a nationwide book tour, is a bad look for the governor, especially as Trump faces a politically charged indictment. Earlier this month, DeSantis pledged not to get involved in the case and also appeared to take shots at Trump, stating he does “not know what goes into” paying hush money to adult film stars.
The uncertainty surrounding DeSantis’ potential presidential run has even led to some of his most generous donors hitting the brakes on their contributions. For instance, conservative billionaire Richard Uihlein and his wife, Elizabeth, who together donated $500,000 to DeSantis’ 2022 re-election campaign, are now reportedly reevaluating their support. A source familiar with the strategy surrounding Uihlein’s spending said, “The brakes are pumped,” adding, “The polling really made different people pause.”
These concerns among donors and allies highlight the challenges DeSantis faces in a potential 2024 presidential run. While he has garnered considerable support within the Republican Party, taking on the former president in a primary battle may prove to be a formidable task.
DeSantis’ strategy moving forward will be crucial in determining his political future. Will he choose to confront Trump directly and risk damaging his long-term prospects, or will he opt for a more cautious approach, potentially waiting until 2028 to run for the presidency?
Ultimately, the Florida governor’s decisions in the coming months will be closely watched by both supporters and skeptics, who will be eager to see if he can navigate the complex landscape of the Republican Party and emerge as a strong contender for the nation’s highest office.