Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) is heaping praise on former President Trump for helping boost his name recognition ahead of his 2018 bid to become governor, lauding the former president for his “star power” in the governor’s upcoming book.
“I knew that a Trump endorsement would provide me with the exposure to GOP primary voters across the State of Florida, and I was confident that many would see me as a good candidate once they learned about my record,” DeSantis wrote, according to The Guardian, which obtained the new book before its publication. “I had developed a good relationship with the president largely because I supported his initiatives in Congress and opposed the Russia collusion conspiracy theory.”
The praise for Trump from DeSantis in his upcoming “The Courage to Be Free” book comes as the two men seem poised to cross paths in the 2024 Republican presidential primary. Trump has already launched his campaign and DeSantis, while not yet officially declared, is widely expected to announce a White House bid in the coming months.
DeSantis is seen as one of the main challengers to the former president to claim the party’s nomination, which has prompted Trump to launch some recent attacks against his former ally.
Trump has labeled the Florida governor as “Ron DeSanctimonious” and has blasted his record as governor.
“Florida was doing GREAT long before Ron DeSanctus got there,” Trump said in a post on his Truth Social site on Tuesday. “People are fleeing from New York to Florida (and other places) because of high TAXES and out of control CRIME, not because of Governor (thank you President Trump!) DeSanctimonious.”
But DeSantis has steered clear of Trump’s antagonism, instead applauding Trump’s 2016 outsider campaign to become president in his new book.
“Trump also brought a unique star power to the race,” DeSantis writes. “If someone had asked me, as a kid growing up in the eighties and nineties, to name someone who was rich, I – and probably nearly all my friends – would have responded by naming Donald Trump.”
The praise from DeSantis, and his unwillingness thus far to spar with the former president, reflects a decision to seemingly avoid a showdown with Trump that other Republican presidential hopefuls, such as former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, have also made.