Trump to hold Florida rally with Rubio – but not DeSantis – Reuters

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Trump to hold Florida rally with Rubio – but not DeSantis – Reuters

“You have the Sunday before Election Day totally hijacked by Trump parachuting on Trump Force One taking all day,” said a longtime Republican consultant close to the governor. “No Republican could go to a DeSantis event that day. None. And DeSantis won’t be there? It’s big.

Another influencer in DeSantis’ world said it was “an elbow at Ron’s throat” and blamed Trump advisers.

A Trump adviser has disputed any conflict between the former president and DeSantis, who could be Trump’s potential rival in 2024 for the GOP presidential nomination if both men run for the White House. Trump’s rally in Florida, the adviser said, is part of a four-city tour the former president is conducting ahead of the Nov. 8 election.

“This is an event President Trump is hosting as part of a series of stops he is making for Republican Senate candidates,” Trump’s adviser said. “It happened after he and Senator Rubio spoke directly to each other.”

People were granted anonymity to freely discuss the issue.

Trump spokesman Taylor Budowich did not return a request for comment. A DeSantis spokesperson declined to comment.

Trump and DeSantis are in something of a cold war, with the two potential competitors publicly downplaying any conflict. But there have been signs their relationship is strained, including DeSantis refusing to seek the former president’s endorsement this year and Trump over the winter calling politicians who wouldn’t say whether they got the “gutless” Covid-19 reminder – a comment widely seen as directed at DeSantis, who wavered on the matter when asked.

And Trump has privately questioned DeSantis’ loyalty while raising questions about whether DeSantis is likable enough to win over voters.

Trump has often taken credit for DeSantis’ success, saying his endorsement of the Florida governor ahead of the 2018 GOP primary against Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam pushed DeSantis over the edge. Trump endorsed many other Florida Republicans in this year’s ballot, including Attorney General Ashley Moody and Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis.

DeSantis has greatly expanded his political influence outside of Florida. He has raised over $100 million from small donors across the country and even attracted donations from some of Trump’s donors.

The governor also held rallies for Republican candidates in key states like Arizona, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, while Florida Republican Party mailers touting the Florida governor landed in mailboxes in locations such as Virginia, Georgia and South Carolina.

Last weekend, DeSantis also endorsed Colorado Republican Senate nominee Joe O’Dea, a candidate Trump called “dumb” because of his moderate stances on things like abortion and birth control. fire arms.

“DeSantis’ endorsement helped after the Trump slam,” said Jeff Hunt, director of Colorado Christian University’s Centennial Institute and co-chair of the Western Conservative Summit, an event whose straw poll DeSantis won earlier this year. . “That will keep Republicans engaged.”

More broadly, Trump’s visit comes as Republicans appear poised to dominate Florida’s 2022 midterm election cycle. The upcoming Trump-Rubio event in Miami-Dade County is particularly notable because the South Florida county has long been a stronghold for Democrats, but could be won and captured by Republicans for the first time in history. modern Florida politics.

Rubio is running against Democratic Rep. Val Demings, who has raised nearly $20 million more than Rubio. Despite that haul, she’s trailing in nearly every public poll and should have an upward climb in a cycle where Republicans are expected to dominate most races in Florida.

“Senator Rubio is grateful to have President Trump’s support and is excited to have him in Miami to help deliver Republican victories for candidates at all levels,” a Rubio campaign spokesperson said.

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