Trump believes he ‘made’ Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis into a GOP star and expects more appreciation from him: report

donald trump ron desantis
President Donald Trump and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis in Sunrise, Fla., on November 26, 2019.
  • Trump thinks he "made" DeSantis into a GOP star and says he could show more appreciation, per CNN.
  • The former president isn't thrilled that DeSantis won't publicly dismiss a 2024 campaign if he runs.
  • The Florida governor, who has seen his stock soar among GOP voters nationwide, is running for reelection in 2022.

In late 2017, then-President Donald Trump endorsed the fledgling gubernatorial campaign of then-Rep. Ron DeSantis, pitting the largely unknown Florida congressman against then-state Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam, who many Republicans expected to easily capture the nomination.

However, when the GOP primary votes were tallied in August 2018, DeSantis would end up defeating Putnam by nearly 20 percentage points.

There was no question that Trump, who by then had become the most important kingmaker in Republican politics, helped launch DeSantis into the political stratosphere in one of the most important swing states in the country.

DeSantis went on to narrowly win the general election over then-Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, a Democrat, and after Trump's electoral defeat last fall, the governor has become one of the top potential 2024 presidential candidates among Republicans.

But there's one big hurdle — Trump.

As the former president teases a 2024 presidential bid, he's still overwhelmingly in control of the GOP party apparatus — and according to a CNN report, he wants DeSantis to give him more credit for a political rise that has made the Florida politician a household name among Republicans across the country.

DeSantis has been praised by Republicans for his hands-off approach in battling the coronavirus in Florida and his vehement opposition to vaccine mandates and masks for children in K-12 public schools.

Trump, who resides at his Mar-a-Lago club in South Florida, has clearly observed the political chatter, with the former president reportedly becoming "more obsessed" with "receiving credit" for the ascent of DeSantis, according to CNN.

Trump has been open about considering DeSantis as a potential vice presidential running mate in 2024, but in recent weeks, the former president has also said that there are "a lot of good people" to consider.

The former president also said that he would "beat" DeSantis in a GOP primary if the governor decided to throw his hat in the ring.

"It's not that Trump is complaining about Ron ... but he likes to remind Ron and others that he made him," according to an individual close to Trump who spoke with CNN.

The individual added that Trump has informed people in his orbit that the Florida governor could show more appreciation.

Politico first reported last week on an emerging tension in the relationship between the two Republicans.

In a statement to CNN, Trump spokesman Taylor Budowich made note of the former president's political chops as it pertained to DeSantis, writing that the former president "paved the way for Republicans, including Governor Ron DeSantis, to sweep the state in 2022" and suggested that he "catapulted" the governor "into the Governor's Mansion" with his seal of approval in the 2018 GOP primary.

"President Trump remains committed and supportive of Governor Ron DeSantis, who has been a champion for President Trump's America First agenda," Budowich added.

However, despite the niceties, and the continued communication between the two men, Trump is "increasingly irritated" that DeSantis won't shut down a 2024 presidential run if the former president launched his own bid, according to CNN.

Two individuals with knowledge of the situation said that the governor informed Trump that he has no plans to run against him in a GOP primary, but the former president reportedly will not be pleased until DeSantis publicly makes the pronouncement, according to the network.

"I don't think Trump appreciates the conundrum DeSantis is in. He wants him to say, 'I won't run,' but DeSantis isn't going to weigh in like that," a former Trump aide told CNN, pointing to the governor's reelection bid next year.

"It's a very smart view. Until you get reelected, don't start to have a conversation about 2024. If you're trying to ask people for your vote and you're leaning into presidential speculation, it makes it a lot harder," the aide added.

DeSantis has previously swatted away 2024 political talk as "nonsense" and officially filed to run for reelection as governor earlier this month.

"I'm not considering anything beyond doing my job," the governor told Fox News host Sean Hannity in September.

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