Ron DeSantis: who is Florida’s Republican governor and what did Trump say to him about running for president?

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Ron DeSantis has emerged as a possible Rebublican 2024 presidential candidate - putting him at odds with Donald Trump’s widely-tipped bid

The US midterms has seen control of the US Congress hanging in the balance, with both the Republican and Democratic parties gaining victories in some of the most competitive races.

While the outcome of races for House and Senate will determine the future of President Joe Biden’s agenda, attention has already turned to possible presidential candidates for 2024.

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Florida governor Ron DeSantis, who has emerged as a future possible Republican presidential contender, beat back Democratic challengers to win re-election in one of the nation’s largest red states. While Donald Trump has hinted at taking another shot at returning to the White House.

So far in the midterms the Democrats showed surprising strength, defeating Republicans in several races and defying expectations that high inflation and President Joe Biden’s low approval ratings would drag the party down.

With votes still being counted across the country, Republicans still had the opportunity to win control of congress. Republican control of the House would likely trigger a round of investigations into Mr Biden and his family, while a GOP Senate takeover would hobble the president’s ability to make judicial appointments. But who is Ron DeSantis, what has Donald Trump said about him running for president. And is Trump going to run?

Who is Ron DeSantis?

A rising star in the Republican party he won a landslide victory for a second term as governor of Florida, he won by almost 20 points over his Democrat rival. He was first elected as governor in 2019, and during his campaign he had emphasised his support of Trump. DeSantis was elected to the House of Representatives in 2012.

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In his victory speech on Wednesday given as his supporters chanted “two more years” - setting the stage for him to announce a presidential bid, he said: “I believe the survival of the American experiment requires a revival of true American principles,” he said. “Florida has proved that it can be done.”

“We’ve accomplished more than anybody thought possible four years ago,” DeSantis continued, “but we’ve got so much more to do, and I have only begun to fight.”

Donald Trump has warned Florida’s Governor Ron Desantis against running for president in 2024.Donald Trump has warned Florida’s Governor Ron Desantis against running for president in 2024.
Donald Trump has warned Florida’s Governor Ron Desantis against running for president in 2024. | Getty Images

DeSantis has been compared to Trump with commentators and sections of the media dubbing him “Trump 2.0”. He has support among hard-right conservatives. During his time in office he signed a bill which banned elective abortion after 15 weeks, he also signed a bill banning discussions of gender identity or sexual orientation in primary schools.

What did Trump say about DeSantis running for president?

There has been widespread speculation that former US president Trump will throw his hat into the ring once more in a bid to return to the White House. He has a “big announcement” set for next week with it believed to be him announcing his intention to run. DeSantis has emerged as the most likely possible challenger to him.

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Speaking to US network Fox News he said DeSantis should stay out of the race. Trump said: “I don’t know if he is running. I think if he runs, he could hurt himself very badly. I really believe he could hurt himself badly. I don’t think it would be good for the party.” Trump also told Fox News the “base would not like it” if DeSantis ran.

Trump also told reporters: “ “If he did run, I will tell you things about him that won’t be very flattering. I know more about him than anybody other than perhaps his wife, who is really running his campaign.”

At a rally in Pennsylvania on Sunday Trump described DeSantis as “Ron DeSanctimonious”, something which backfired with some pro-Trump conservatives criticising him for his stance.

Will Donald Trump run?

He’s been widely tipped to. According to the Washington Post he had been considering announcing his campaign on Monday night, but was advised otherwise. His “big announcement” is expected on Tuesday, 15 November.

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Speaking at a recent rally in Iowa he hinted at a run, telling supporters: “In order to make our country successful and safe and glorious, I will very, very, very probably do it again – OK,” he told supporters. Get ready, that’s all I’m telling you. Very soon, get ready.” If he does decide to do it it would be his fourth presidential campaign having stood in 2000, 2016 and 2020.

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