Exclusive — Rep. Matt Gaetz: ‘Highly Unlikely’ DeSantis Runs Against Trump, ‘These Guys Are on the Same Side’

Jack Knudsen / Breitbart News

TAMPA, Florida — Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) told Breitbart News exclusively here at the Turning Point USA Student Action Summit (SAS) that he does not believe Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis would challenge former President Donald Trump in a 2024 GOP presidential primary should Trump decide to run.

“I think that’s highly unlikely,” Gaetz told Breitbart News when asked if DeSantis would run against Trump in his view.

Gaetz dismissing the possibility of an internecine Trump-versus-DeSantis primary is very significant because he is extremely close with both party leaders—perhaps more so than any other high profile Republican figure, something Gaetz made sure to stress when he was making this point.

“I would go so far as to say there is no human walking around the earth that has spent more time with both Donald Trump and Ron DeSantis than I have,” Gaetz told Breitbart News. “I spent a lot of time with the president in the Oval when he was leading our country. I was Governor DeSantis’s transition chairman and I was heavily involved in his campaign.”

Instead of DeSantis running against Trump as some in the donor class have been trying to force, Gaetz said the two of them in reality “are on the same side.” Gaetz said he expects Trump will run again in 2024, and DeSantis would seek the White House later in a future presidential campaign in 2028 or later.

“What I can tell you is these guys are on the same side,” Gaetz said. “We want to see a Republican Party that is a national party, a winning party, a fighting party. I think President Trump really views DeSantis’s success with great pride, that he took someone who was in Congress and that he saw great potential in and he nurtured that leadership that Ron DeSantis has now displayed to the world. It’s a great working relationship that all three of us have. So, I think it’s largely a media creation that they want to find ways to cause schisms and disagreements in our movement. My expectation is they will both be back in the White House one day. I think Donald Trump will probably be back in the White House in 2024, but for many years I’ve held the view that Ron DeSantis will be president one day and I’ve seen nothing that would in any way dampen that.”

Gaetz also expanded on why he thinks it is “highly unlikely” to see DeSantis challenge Trump by saying the Florida governor will see the “energy and magnetism” Trump has with the base and GOP voters here in Florida and nationwide and will decide it’s better to stick with Trump for now rather than run against him—and then run in an open field in a future election.

“I think that if Donald Trump runs, and I do expect him to run, that Ron DeSantis will understand the energy and the magnetism that President Trump brings and will likely do what he always has and that is be one of Donald Trump’s best campaigners and best surrogates,” Gaetz said. “Look, there is a reason we won Florida by such a large margin—a margin that people never really see in Florida—in the 2020 election for Donald Trump. It was because he and Ron DeSantis were out there hand in glove campaigning together and getting crowds fired up together. Here, they are on different nights but at the same conference—we’re going to need both of those great leaders in order to I think have a catchment apparatus for the energy and enthusiasm that is out there for Republicans. There is not a person in politics who is serious who doesn’t think we’re going to take the majority. The operative question is what will we do with it? I remember being in the majority when we had unified control of the government and we did a great tax bill but we should have done more. We should have done more on the border, we should have done more on big tech, we should have done more to constrain the regulatory state. There was a lot more swamp left to drain even when Donald Trump left office. I don’t want to be in a circumstance where Republicans win by default and then lack the vision and the clarity to understand what our compact is with our voters.”

Gaetz’s interview came on Friday night, moments before DeSantis took the stage at the Turning Point conference. On Saturday night, Gaetz spoke moments before Trump did on the main stage.

Watch the full interview below:

Jack Knudsen / Breitbart News


Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.