During an interview that aired on Thursday’s broadcast of Hugh Hewitt’s nationally syndicated radio show, former President Donald Trump, now a candidate for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, took a shot at his possible rival in the contest, Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL).
Trump recounted his version of DeSantis seeking his endorsement in the 2018 Florida Republican gubernatorial primary against then-Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam.
According to the former president, DeSantis begged for the endorsement. Trump also claimed he had to help DeSantis in his run in the general election against then-Tallahassee, FL Mayor Andrew Gillum, the Democratic Party’s nominee.
“[R]on DeSantis got elected because of me,” he said. “You remember he had nothing. He was dead. He was leaving the race. He came over, and he begged me, begged me for an endorsement. He was getting ready to drop out. I gave him an endorsement, and as soon as I gave that endorsement, in fact, I said you’re going to have a hard time. He was running against Adam Putnam, the commissioner of agriculture, who had a massive lead. He was running for eight years while he was commissioner. He had $40 million in cash. I believe it was forty, and he was up in the poll massively by, you know, tremendous, but not catchable, not even catchable. He said if you endorse me, I’ll win. And there were tears coming down from his eyes. He said if you endorse me, I’ll win. I said you know what, Ron, Ron was one of 150 people that was on television. I mean, Jim Jordan was the best, and others were great. But he was one of 150, Hugh, that was on television, and he was supporting me on the impeachment hoax number one and a little bit on the impeachment hoax number two. And I said, I don’t know Adam Putnam, so we’ll do it. So I end up doing it, and he wins. They say it was like a bomb went off, just a bomb just totally went off. From the moment I endorsed him, he went from losing by numbers that are not catchable to winning easily.”
“Then I got him past the crackhead who was the hottest person in the entire Democrat Party at the time,” Trump continued, referring to former Tallahassee, FL Mayor Andrew Gillum. “You know, he slightly took a different position afterwards, but that’s all right. Him and Stacey Abrams were the two hottest politicians that, they were going to be the party of the future, the Democrats of the future. And I got, I did two rallies, two or three rallies, average size like massive. They were massive. I said you’re going to win, Ron, and he said I don’t think so. Nobody thought he could win. First of all, I got him the nomination and purely got it. And people who know the campaign of Adam Putnam will tell you because they say everything collapsed the moment I pressed that trigger. And then I got him into the general, and then they say will you run against the president like two years later. Will you run against the president, and he says I don’t want to talk about that? This is not something we’re talking about now. I said that’s not a very good answer.”
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