MSNBC anchor Mika Brzezinksi accused former President Donald Trump on “Morning Joe” Thursday of being “scared” of his possible 2024 presidential primary opponent, Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.
The former president is set to hold a rally in Florida with Republican Florida Sen. Marco Rubio on November 6 without DeSantis, which reportedly angered some of the governor’s acquaintances. Brzezinski accused Trump of purposely excluding DeSantis because he views him as a future political rival.
“Ron DeSantis is in Donald Trump’s way,” she said. “And so Donald Trump will be a child and a bully and move him out of the way. If anyone thinks anything different then they haven’t been watching Donald Trump for the past six years. That’s just the way it goes. He is very, very, very scared of Ron DeSantis in that Ron DeSantis may actually do better than him in a 2024 presidential election and that just scares Donald Trump because he wants to run again. Maybe, some might say, to get away from some legal woes. We’ll see how it works out. We’ll see what happens, to quote Trump.”
Though neither figure has confirmed a future presidential run, it has been widely anticipated that DeSantis and Trump will become political rivals in the 2024 Republican presidential primary. The two prominent GOP leaders have stood neck-and-neck in polls indicating voters’ preferred nominee. (RELATED: Ron DeSantis Beating Trump In Florida GOP Primary: POLL)
An Ipsos Research poll, conducted by ABC News, found that a majority of registered Republicans believe the governor should wield more influence in the party than the former president. Seventy-two percent said the Florida governor should have “a great deal or a good amount of influence on” the party. The poll surveyed 618 registered voters and had a margin of error of 4.0%.
Influential people in DeSantis’ circle have allegedly said the Trump/Rubio rally hurt DeSantis’ turnout at future rallies and blamed Trump’s advisers for any tension between the two, Politico reported. One person reportedly called this “an elbow to Ron’s throat.”
The rumored animosity comes on the heels of DeSantis’ endorsement of Colorado GOP Senate candidate Joe O’Dea, whom Trump called a “Republican in name only” (RINO). The former president’s advisers, however, have disputed accusations of animosity between Trump and DeSantis.
“This is an event President Trump is holding as part of a series of stops he is making for Republican Senate candidates,” one Trump adviser told Politico. “It came after he and Senator Rubio spoke directly.”