Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis showed confidence that he can defeat President Joe Biden in a potential 2024 presidential race.
It is widely expected that DeSantis will launch a presidential bid and take on former President Donald Trump in the 2024 primary, leading to a rocky relationship between the two prominent Republicans. The governor told Piers Morgan in an exclusive Fox Nation interview released Thursday that his main obligation is running against Biden, not another Republican.
“If I were to run, I’m running against Biden. We’re competing for the Republican [nomination] potentially, I get that, but ultimately, the guy I’m gonna focus on is Biden because I think he’s failed the country,” DeSantis said. “I think the country wants a change, I think they want a fresh start and a new direction, and so we’ll be very vocal about that. I spent a lot of time in Florida fighting back against it.”
“Do you think you could beat Biden?” Morgan asked.
“I think so,” DeSantis replied.
“So you’re running then,” Morgan said.
“No, I didn’t say that. I just said I think I could,” the governor chuckled.
The governor said he is unsure if defeating Trump or Biden would be easier, and went on to describe the differences between himself and his potential rival in the Republican primary. Polls have found the governor standing neck-and-neck with both Biden and Trump throughout the last several months.
Biden leads DeSantis in a potential race by an average of 0.6%, according to RealClearPolitics. A recent Quinnipiac poll found Biden leading DeSantis by one percentage point, 47%-46%, and DeSantis narrowly led Biden in a Harvard-Harris poll in February.
Regarding his rivalry with Trump, DeSantis told Morgan that he would have handled COVID-19 differently by firing White House senior medical adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci. He also criticized Trump’s style of leadership. (RELATED: DeSantis Breaks Silence On Potential Trump Indictment)
“The approach to COVID was different. I would have fired somebody like Fauci. I think he got way too big for his britches, and I think he did a lot of damage,” the governor said. “I also think just in terms of my approach to leadership, I get personnel in the Government who have the agenda of the people and share our agenda.”
“You bring your own agenda in you’re gone,” he continued. “We’re just not gonna have that. So, the way we run the Government I think is no daily drama, focus on the big picture and put points on the board and I think that’s something that’s very important.”
He also addressed Trump’s most prominent nickname for the governor, “Ron DeSanctimonious,” which the former president first coined in November before his third presidential campaign announcement.
“I don’t know how to spell the sanctimonious one,” DeSantis said with a slight chuckle. “I don’t really know what it means, but I kinda like it, it’s long, it’s got a lot of vowels. We’ll go with that, that’s fine. I mean you can call me whatever you want, just as long as you also call me a winner because that’s what we’ve been able to do in Florida, is put a lot of points on the board and really take this State to the next level.”