At a campaign rally near Miami on Sunday afternoon, Donald Trump avoided stabbing Florida’s other most popular Republican, Gov. Ron DeSantis. “The people of Florida will re-elect my wonderful, amazing friend Marco Rubio to the US Senate,” the former president said in front of more than 2,000 supporters. “And you will re-elect Ron DeSantis as your governor.”

It wasn’t a glamorous endorsement, but a day earlier, Trump fired a warning shot at his rising rival for the 2024 GOP presidential nomination. While stumbling for Mehmet Oz, the GOP nominee for the US Senate in Pennsylvania, Trump called DeSantis “Ron DeSanctimonious.” The zinger came as Trump boasted a month-old poll showing him by a gargantuan lead among Republican voters over Florida Gov. and former Vice President Mike Pence.

The insult is completely unnecessary, Luis Solarana told The Daily Beast. A Brooklyn native who moved to Miami in 1984, Solarana was among dozens of other MAGA diehards at the Miami-Dade County Fairgrounds who were pumped about a potential Republican defeat in the Sunshine State on Election Day this Tuesday.

“I heard about what Trump called DeSantis,” Solarana said. “That was ridiculous. Sometimes Trump has to keep his opinions to himself.”

Still, he would prefer DeSantis to remain Florida governor and Trump to get the Republican nomination uncontested, Solarana said. “I can’t wait for 2024,” he said. “Trump is my preference.”

For months, Trump and DeSantis have been waging a cold war behind the scenes as Florida’s governor positions himself as the leading contender for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination. While DeSantis has adroitly avoided commenting on his White House aspirations, he has taken a number of steps to raise his national profile, including supporting gubernatorial and congressional candidates in other states for the midterm elections.

Among those who have received the DeSantis seal of approval are 2020 presidential election deniers Doug Mastriano, the Republican nominee for governor in Pennsylvania, and Kari Lake, the GOP nominee for governor in Arizona.


DeSantis’ popularity is also on the rise. Two polls of GOP voters in Michigan and New Hampshire show Trump and DeSantis statistically tied, while a Florida poll shows Republicans favor their governor over the former president.

DeSantis’ refusal to publicly roll back his ambitions has incensed Trump, who since his supporters’ failed uprising on Jan. 6, 2021, has consistently publicized his intention to run again.

DeSantis was notably absent from the Miami-Dade County Fairgrounds as he was in Tampa for his own re-election rally. Multiple media reports noted that DeSantis was not invited to the Miami rally and that the governor had not asked to attend.

However, a Florida International University poll of Cuban-American voters, who are the predominant Hispanic voting bloc in Miami-Dade County, shows them favoring Trump over DeSantis by 32 percent to 25 percent. Participants in the Miami rally, mostly Hispanic conservatives, supported the FIU’s findings. During Trump’s speech, they chanted, “We want Trump!”, “Trump won!” and we love you!”

Trump fed the crowd his usual list of false complaints about having the 2020 election stolen from him and that his two impeachments were hoaxes. The ex-president also made ridiculously unsubstantiated claims that Democrats were responsible for blowing up drug cartel profits by “2,500 percent” and that “the streets of America are ruled by ruthless, bloodthirsty gangs.” He also claimed without evidence that every drug dealer kills an average of 500 people in their lifetime.

Jorge Perez, a 48-year-old Cuban-American Republican holding up a large blue Let’s Go Brandon flag and a DeSantis campaign T-shirt, said it was only logical for Florida’s governor to stay on his trail. “Trump is the guy who calls the shots,” Perez said. “I expect the Republican Party machinery to line up behind him.”


During Fantasy Fest, a popular Key West street costume party last month, he was surprised by a multitude of DeSantis signs in Florida’s southernmost city, Bob Kunst told The Daily Beast. Art, a Miami Beach resident wearing a Deplorables for Trump t-shirt and holding a homemade “Hillary for Prison” sign, said he’s met Republicans who’ve moved down from other states and want that DeSantis running for President.

“I told them we needed him as governor,” Art said. “There is no one strong enough to take over. He can’t generate all that momentum and then walk.”


Idianette Martinez, a Cuban-American wearing a red Trump 2024 t-shirt, agreed art. “If DeSantis is smart, I don’t think he’s going to run against Trump,” Martinez said. “He has to stay governor and Trump has to be president again. There is no other way.”

blank Donald Trump surprises with Ron DeSantis Line at the Midterm Election Rally in Miami, Florida