Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis “does not want to cross” former President Donald Trump in the 2024 primary, MSNBC anchor Joe Scarborough argued Friday.
DeSantis is expected to be a potential opponent of Trump’s during the Republican primary, however the governor has not expressed his intention to run. Trump, who announced his third presidential candidacy, has jabbed at the governor over his increasing popularity within the party.
“Maybe DeSantis can take a punch. My guess is, just all of this talking right now, my guess is, DeSantis says ‘Wait a second, why do I go to the immediate grinder that chewed up and spit out sixteen Republicans politically?'” Scarborough said. “‘Why don’t I let Trump run again? I’ll serve out my term, I’ll end up with 80% approval ratings among Republicans and then, in ’26, I just open my presidential campaign and I don’t even have to take on the champ [Trump].’ I think that’s probably what he’s thinking in Tallahassee. I think he knows he does not want to cross Donald Trump on the debate stage.”
Trump and DeSantis have stood neck-and-neck among likely Republican voters in the upcoming presidential election. A Wall Street Journal poll published in December found that 52% of Republicans would favor DeSantis over the former president if the election were held, and 38% of respondents would support Trump. (RELATED: Mika Brzezinski Accuses Trump Of Being ‘Scared’ Of Gov. DeSantis)
The former president has led a narrow lead over DeSantis in some potential presidential campaign polls. In July, a WDIV/Detroit News survey found him leading DeSantis among Michigan voters by 45%-41%.
Trump mockingly nicknamed DeSantis “Ron DeSanctimonious” during a Nov. 6 campaign rally in Latrobe, Pennsylvania. He then called the Florida governor an “average governor” who was “politically dead” before his endorsement in 2018.
“Ron came to me in desperate shape in 2017—he was politically dead, losing in a landslide to a very good Agriculture Commissioner, Adam Putnam, who was loaded up with cash and great poll numbers. Ron had low approval, bad polls, and no money, but he said that if I would Endorse him, he could win,” Trump wrote in a Nov. 10 Truth Social post.