According to the Washington Examiner, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R) has said he didn’t attend a rally held in Sarasota by former President Donald Trump because of his “duty” to oversee the aftermath of the collapse of a 12-story condo in Surfside, Florida.
DeSantis had reportedly asked Trump to cancel the rally because of the collapse, but Trump allegedly declined to do so, according to early reports. Both Trump and DeSantis deny that the governor wanted the rally canceled, but DeSantis informed Trump on Saturday that he would not attend the rally, given his commitment to overseeing the recovery and clean-up following the tragedy near Miami.
“He spoke with President Trump, who agreed that this was the right decision, as the Governor’s duty is to be in Surfside making sure the families and community have what they need in the aftermath of the tragic building collapse. Gov. DeSantis would have gone to this event in normal circumstances,” DeSantis spokesperson Christina Pushaw said, according to the Examiner. “He is sure the rally will draw a big crowd on this holiday weekend, as many Floridians are excited to attend.”
So far, 22 people have been confirmed as deceased after being trapped in the building’s rubble, and over 120 are still missing, the Examiner reported. The Chamberlain Towers South collapse happened at 1:30 a.m. last week, when most people were at home.
Trump kicks off fundraiser
“Like all Americans, President Trump sends his deepest condolences to those who’ve lost loved ones or been displaced by the terrible tragedy in Surfside. The event in Sarasota, however, is on the other side of the state, 3 1/2 hours away, approximately the same distance from Boston to New York, and will not impact any of the recovery efforts,” Trump spokeswoman Liz Harrington said.
“In fact, President Trump has instructed his team to collect relief aid for Surfside families both online and on-site at the Sarasota rally,” she continued.
As Reuters reported, Trump used a portion of the rally to rail against New York prosecutors for indicting his organization on charges of not paying taxes fairly on benefits received by Trump Org. CFO Allen Weisselberg.
“It’s really called prosecutorial misconduct. It’s a terrible, terrible thing,” Trump said during the rally.
“They’ve mobilized every power of government to come after me, my family, my wonderful employees, and my company solely because of politics,” Trump added, according to Reuters.
DeSantis vs. Trump?
Both DeSantis and Trump are considered frontrunners in the 2024 presidential election, but DeSantis has been an outspoken Trump supporter who might choose to not take on the former president, should he decide to run again in 2024.
There’s been some speculation that DeSantis could be Trump’s running mate this time around, after Trump’s falling out with former Vice President Mike Pence and his overall unpopularity with Trump’s massive base of supporters.
Only time will tell what DeSantis will ultimately decide, but given his young age and growing popularity, it’s not out of the question that he waits until 2028 or beyond to launch his own bid for the White House.