MATLACHA, Fla. — Gov. Ron DeSantis is telling people to "chill out" about talk of him potentially facing off against former President Donald Trump for the GOP nomination in the 2024 presidential race.
During a news conference Wednesday morning in Lee County, a reporter asked DeSantis if he had heard about a potential civil war brewing in the Republican party between the Florida governor and Trump.
"We just finished this election," DeSantis said. "Okay, people just need to chill out a little bit on some of this stuff. I mean, seriously. We just ran an election... We have this Georgia runoff happening, which is very important for Republicans."
DeSantis went on to say Florida was one of the few "bright spots" for the GOP during the Nov. 8 midterm election, noting the now-super majority in much of the Florida legislature. Elsewhere, DeSantis made note of the "substandard," disappointing results for Republican candidates in other elections nationwide.
"The reason why we won a historic victory [in Florida], at the end of the day, is we led, we delivered and we had your back when you needed us," DeSantis continued.
"So at the end of the day, what I think we showed in Florida is just produce results, lead with conviction — I never put my finger to the wind or took polls, I just did what I thought was right — but what the election gives us the opportunity to do is continue to deliver," he later added.
Tuesday night, Trump was at his Florida club Mar-a-Lago to formally announce his candidacy for president in the 2024 election. This is the earliest a candidate has ever announced their run for office.
“I am running because I believe the world has not yet seen the true glory of what this nation can be,” Trump said.
Far from the undisputed leader of the party, Trump is now facing criticism from some of his own allies, who say it’s time for Republicans to look to the future, with DeSantis emerging as an early favorite White House contender.
DeSantis is the person who has most occupied Trump and his allies in recent months. His commanding reelection as governor last week was a bright spot for Republicans this cycle. The former congressman, who became a popular national figure among conservatives during the pandemic as he pushed back on COVID-19 restrictions, shares Trump’s pugilistic instincts and has embraced fights over social issues with similar zeal.
Trump has already begun to lash out at DeSantis publicly. On Tuesday, the Florida governor shot back.
“At the end of the day, I would just tell people to go check out the scoreboard from last Tuesday night,” DeSantis told reporters.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.