Republicans doubting that Ron DeSantis would be willing to take on Donald Trump in 2024

Republicans doubting that Ron DeSantis would be willing to take on Donald Trump in 2024
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The theory in Republican circles has been that Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) was the "clever" or "more intelligent" version of Donald Trump and would be a much better at running for president in 2024. Given Trump's mounting legal problems and scandals, having someone like DeSantis would be less complicated for the Republican Party.

But according to Gabriel Sherman writing for Vanity Fair, Republican Party insiders are starting to question whether DeSantis would be brave enough to take on Trump.

One source revealed that DeSantis has led donors “to believe he will not run if Trump does." Others, however, said he could “walk into the presidency in 2028 without pissing off Trump or Florida.”

The comment comes after the debate DeSantis had with former Gov. Charlie Crist (D-FL), who asked DeSantis whether he would commit to filling out his term. DeSantis refused to answer. The assumptions about DeSantis come from his behavior for the past year after he's traveled the country and helped promote other Republican candidates. It's something that presidential candidates typically do.

Now, he's reconsidering, according to at least four prominent Republicans. He recently hinted to donors he wouldn't make the challenge against the former president.

“He’s led them to believe he will not run if Trump does,” said a Republican briefed on the conversations with donors.

The matchup has already been spilling out into the digital world after DeSantis rushed to help Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT), who can't even get the support from his own fellow Utah colleague, Sen. Mitt Romney (R). After DeSantis lent his name to Lee, Trump rushed in to make sure his name was included too.

"Mike has long had my Complete and Total Endorsement, and even more strongly now!" Trump posted on his personal social media website.

“They hate each other,” a former Trump adviser told Vanity Fair.

Another donor noted that at just 44 years old, DeSantis has all the time in the world to wait until Trump is out of the way.

“He can walk into the presidency in 2028 without pissing off Trump or Florida,” the source told Sherman. “What would you rather do? Be the governor of Florida for certain or go run for president?”

That said, one Republican close to DeSantis told Sherman, "he's running."

Right now, DeSantis is on the outs with Trump, but if Marco Rubio is any indication, Trump will welcome him back into the MAGA family if he bows out of 2024.

Read the full report at Vanity Fair.

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