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Florida Governor Ron DeSantis praises former President Donald Trump in his upcoming book, even though the Sunshine State Republican has recently been on the receiving end of barbs from Trump, who likely sees him as a threat in the 2024 GOP primary.
Excerpts from “The Courage to Be Free: Florida’s Blueprint for America’s Revival,” which hits bookshelves on Tuesday, were obtained by The Guardian. In the book, DeSantis continues his battle against Critical Race Theory, the elite class, and paints Republicans like George W. Bush and Paul Ryan as part of the what he considers a problematic establishment.
“Some DC commentators have opined that Donald Trump’s nomination represented a hostile takeover of the Republican Party. But this analysis gets it exactly backward,” DeSantis wrote. “Since Ronald Reagan flew back to California on January 20, 1989, the GOP grass roots had been longing for someone who rejected the old-guard way of doing business and who could speak to their concerns and aspirations. Trump supported policies that appealed to the base in a way that GOP leaders in the DC swamp had been either incapable of doing or unwilling to do.”
DeSantis notes in the book that the celebrity status Trump earned as a high-profile developer and television star “brought a unique star power to the race” in the 2016 election, in which Trump defeated Hillary Clinton.
DeSantis faults the media and top Democrats for using the Russia collusion conspiracy theory in an attempt to “kneecap Trump’s presidency.”
The 44-year-old governor, who won re-election in Florida last year by a historic 19.4-point margin, credited Trump with helping him win his first election for governor in 2018, saying that Trump’s endorsement “enhance[d] my name recognition.”
“I knew that a Trump endorsement would provide me with the exposure to GOP primary voters across the State of Florida, and I was confident that many would see me as a good candidate once they learned about my record,” DeSantis wrote. “I had developed a good relationship with the president largely because I supported his initiatives in Congress and opposed the Russia collusion conspiracy theory.”
DeSantis’ glowing words about Trump come despite Trump’s repeated attacks against him ever since the midterm elections ended. Trump, who takes credit for DeSantis’ first gubernatorial election victory, has claimed a tearful DeSantis “begged” for his endorsement. Trump has also tried to brand DeSantis with a nickname, as he has many of his political opponents, calling him “Ron DeSanctimonious.”
Recent polling has shown that Trump’s attacks on DeSantis is making some Republicans think more poorly of Trump than it does DeSantis.
2024 MI GOP Primary head-two-head poll by @EchelonInsights
DeSantis — 47%
Trump — 42%
Poll also tested the nickname “Ron DeSanctimonious,”
5% said that it made them think more poorly of DeSantis
— InteractivePolls (@IAPolls2022) February 22, 2023