- Trump has informed some political donors to stop boosting Ron DeSantis, per The Washington Post.
- During his calls with donors, the ex-president said that DeSantis could be a potential 2024 rival.
- Trump’s endorsement of DeSantis’ 2018 gubernatorial bid was a key moment in the governor’s political rise.
Former President Donald Trump has asked several of his donors to refrain from boosting Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis — who has emerged as one of the former president’s most formidable potential rivals in a GOP presidential primary matchup — according to The Washington Post.
Trump was instrumental in shaping DeSantis’ political rise in the Sunshine State, endorsing the little-known congressman in the 2018 gubernatorial primary over a more established rival, then-Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam.
With the MAGA movement behind DeSantis, he became unstoppable in the GOP primary that year, romping to an easy win over Putnam and narrowly winning the general election over Andrew Gillum, the onetime Democratic star.
But the former president, who established Florida as the center of his political operations after leaving the White House last year, now finds himself having to coexist with a longtime political ally who has the potential to eclipse him in the minds of many Republicans who may not be keen on a third Trump presidential campaign.
DeSantis is currently in the midst of a reelection campaign against Democratic gubernatorial nominee Charlie Crist, while also stumping for Republican candidates across the country — a sign of his growing influence within the party.
And Trump has noticed how much DeSantis has become a political draw on his own, according to The Post.
Per the newspaper’s report, the former president has tracked appearances made by DeSantis, while also monitoring the governor’s poll numbers.
Trump has also taken the step of informing several donors who have also contributed to DeSantis to cease their support of the governor, telling them that the Florida Republican could be a potential 2024 rival, according to an individual tied to the donor world who spoke with The Post.
DeSantis has received financial support from the billionaire Citadel founder Ken Griffin, who has said publicly that he would not back a Trump presidential campaign in 2024 and called the former president’s White House tenure “pointlessly divisive.”
Despite the behind-the-scenes transitions, Trump and DeSantis remain in similar social circles and even ran into each other at a wedding at the former president’s Mar-a-Lago resort, per the report.
Insider reached out to representatives of Trump and DeSantis for comment.