Talk of a presidential primary showdown between former President Donald Trump and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has been brewing for some time.
But U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz said it’s “highly unlikely” the two will clash for the GOP’s top spot in 2024.
In an interview published Wednesday by Breitbart News, the Fort Walton Beach Republican said Trump and DeSantis are “on the same side.” And while Trump is a lock to seek a comeback in 2024, DeSantis is patient enough to hold off till 2028 or later.
“I would go so far as to say there is no human walking around the earth that has spent more time with both Donald Trump and Ron DeSantis than I have,” Gaetz told Breitbart. “I spent a lot of time with the president in the Oval when he was leading our country. I was Governor DeSantis’s transition chairman and I was heavily involved in his campaign.”
“What I can tell you is these guys are on the same side,” Gaetz added.
“We want to see a Republican Party that is a national party, a winning party, a fighting party. I think President Trump really views DeSantis’s success with great pride, that he took someone who was in Congress and that he saw great potential in and he nurtured that leadership that Ron DeSantis has now displayed to the world. It’s a great working relationship that all three of us have.”
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“So, I think it’s largely a media creation that they want to find ways to cause schisms and disagreements in our movement. My expectation is they will both be back in the White House one day. I think Donald Trump will probably be back in the White House in 2024, but for many years I’ve held the view that Ron DeSantis will be president one day and I’ve seen nothing that would in any way dampen that.”
Continuing, Gaetz told Breitbart that he expects Trump to run, and once he does, DeSantis “will understand the energy and the magnetism that President Trump brings and will likely do what he always has and that is be one of Donald Trump’s best campaigners and best surrogates.”
“Look, there is a reason we won Florida by such a large margin—a margin that people never really see in Florida—in the 2020 election for Donald Trump. It was because he and Ron DeSantis were out there hand in glove campaigning together and getting crowds fired up together,” Gaetz noted.
“We’re going to need both of those great leaders in order to, I think, have a catchment apparatus for the energy and enthusiasm that is out there for Republicans.”
Gaetz added that serious political observers believe the Republicans will retake the majority in Congress in November.
“The operative question is what will we do with it?” he said.
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“I remember being in the majority when we had unified control of the government and we did a great tax bill but we should have done more. We should have done more on the border, we should have done more on big tech, we should have done more to constrain the regulatory state. There was a lot more swamp left to drain even when Donald Trump left office.”
“I don’t want to be in a circumstance where Republicans win by default and then lack the vision and the clarity to understand what our compact is with our voters,” said Gaetz.