Trump and DeSantis: Fighting words or friendly jabs?

Is the pressure of 2024 already getting to two of the country’s top Republican contenders? Recent reports indicate that former President Donald Trump and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis may be at odds. 

"They in the past have been allied pretty closely," said Aubrey Jewett, a UCF political science professor. 

A new report from Axios says Trump is calling DeSantis "dull" behind closed doors. 

This comes after the former president said people who haven’t disclosed their vaccine booster status as "gutless." 

DeSantis has sidestepped that question. 

Governor-elect Ron DeSantis, R-Fla., joins President Donald J. Trump at the White House Thursday, Dec. 13, 2018, during a discussion with Governors-Elect from around the nation. (Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead)

On top of that, DeSantis recently criticized the Trump administration’s lockdowns from early 2020 during a podcast interview. 

"I think it’s a lot to do about nothing. We all know the presidential election is three years away. Look, it’s just political jockeying, which I think the media is paying more attention to than the two principles," said Mike Haridopolos, a former Republican lawmaker who was president of the Florida Senate. 

"I think it’s very intentional by Governor DeSantis. If you see, he’s really established his lane for his bid for re-election, but a bid possibly for president 2024," said Dick Batchelor, a former Democrat state representative. 

Political insiders say Trump’s endorsement paved the way for DeSantis to win governor in 2018. 

Now, some are wondering if the two men are prepared to go head-to-head. 

"There’s a real possibility that the Republican Party could split if both DeSantis and Trump tried to get the nomination in 2024 and neither backs down," Jewett said. 

Trump has not officially said whether he’ll run in 2024, and DeSantis has left the door open.

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