Republican Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is reportedly gathering with some of his top donors this month as he plots out the course of his political future following his blowout victory in last month’s midterm elections.
The Washington Post reported that DeSantis sent out invitations to the governor’s “strongest supporters” this week for an “intimate dinner” with DeSantis and his wife this weekend in Miami.
The report said that the dinner was not “explicitly” about the upcoming 2024 presidential race and that DeSantis was expected to thank those who contributed to his campaign and helped make his landslide 19+ point victory possible.
The report said that DeSantis still has $70 million left in reserves if he launches a presidential bid and that he was the Republican Party’s most dominant fundraiser this last election cycle, bringing in nearly a quarter of a billion dollars.
Trump launched an unprovoked attack on DeSantis following the midterm elections as DeSantis received widespread praise for how he and other Republicans performed in the state of Florida while Trump was criticized for backing candidates that struggled in key toss-up races.
DeSantis responded to the attacks by taking the high road and refusing to engage with the former president.
“Well, you know, one of the things I’ve learned in this job is when you’re doing, when you’re leading, when you’re getting things done, you take incoming fire, that’s just the nature of it,” DeSantis said. “I roll out of bed in the morning, I’ve got corporate media outlets that have a spasm, just the fact that I’m getting up in the morning, and it’s constantly attacking, and this is just what’s happened.”
“I don’t think any governor got attacked more particularly by corporate media than me over my four-year term,” DeSantis continued. “And yet, I think what you learn is all that’s just noise. And really what matters is: Are you leading? Are you getting in front of issues? Are you delivering results for people? And are you standing up for folks? And if you do that, then none of that stuff matters. And that’s what we’ve done.”
“We focused on results and leadership. And, you know, at the end of the day, I would just tell people to go check out the scoreboard from last Tuesday night,” DeSantis continued. “The fact of the matter is, it was the greatest Republican victory in the history of the state of Florida.”
Multiple GOP megadonors have indicated in recent weeks that they will either support DeSantis or will not support Trump in the upcoming presidential election.
“America does better when its leaders are rooted in today and tomorrow, not today and yesterday,” said Stephen Schwarzman, CEO of The Blackstone Group. “It is time for the Republican Party to turn to a new generation of leaders and I intend to support one of them in the presidential primaries.”
Ronald Lauder, a billionaire heir to the Estée Lauder fortune, announced through his spokesperson that he would not support Trump’s new campaign for president.
The spokesperson did not indicate who Lauder would support in 2024, but a report from CNBC noted that he has repeatedly given to DeSantis.
Citadel founder Ken Griffin, a Republican megadonor who is worth approximately $30 billion, recently took a shot at the former president, saying, “I’d like to think that the Republican party is ready to move on from somebody who has been for this party a three-time loser.”
Griffin has given millions to DeSantis’ political operation and said that DeSantis is “going to run on a record of just unbelievable accomplishment.”