Former President Donald Trump has taken some heat for attacking his potential 2024 presidential primary opponent, Florida GOP Gov. Ron DeSantis, but he told Newsmax he needs to get the word out.
"No, I think that would be a very unlikely alliance," Trump told Friday's "Rob Schmitt Tonight" in a phone interview, when asked if he would consider DeSantis as a potential running mate.
"I've never thought of it," Trump told host Rob Schmitt. "We have a lot of great people in the Republican Party. I've never thought of it; but you know some people every once in awhile mention it, but that's about it."
DeSantis told Newsmax one night prior he is "an executive guy," suggesting he is a leader and not a follower of Trump, but Trump was incredulous DeSantis has moved on from a former GOP alliance.
"But I appointed him," Trump said of 2018 in the initial DeSantis run for governor. "He was failing badly in the polls. He was out of politics. He was going to be out of politics, and I endorsed him; and he went from a very small number to a very high number."
Trump said DeSantis had to narrowly beat a "crackhead" in former Tallahassee Democrat Mayor Andrew Gillum.
"I had rallies for Ron, and we got him in. Then a couple of years later they said, 'Would you run against the president for president?'" Trump continued.
"He said, 'I have no comment.' I said, 'That's not supposed to happen.'"
But Trump welcomes the primary challenge, because DeSantis "can't win."
"But that's OK, whatever he wants to do," Trump said. "But if you look at his record, he can't win, because he voted against Social Security; he voted against everything. He voted against things that are so important. Medicare. He voted against Medicare. He wanted to raise the age substantially of people getting Social Security.
"The things he's voted against are devastating, because people don't know this about Ron: Ron was a disciple of Paul Ryan. And Paul Ryan was a loser. You know that. He was a loser in many ways."
Ryan, the former House speaker, had broken from Trump; and the former president said Ryan is now pushing DeSantis to oppose Trump.
"In Wisconsin, he couldn't get elected dog catcher right now," Trump said of Ryan. "But he was a disciple of Paul Ryan. That's a bad person. That's a bad person to be a disciple of."
As far as having to go on the attack, it is all fair in politics and primaries, according to Trump, even if conservatives are uncomfortable with it.
"But you have to get the word out, Rob," Trump told Schmitt. "You know, I don't like saying this about another Republican, but you have to.
"You know everyone thought he did great on COVID; but if you look at the list, he did poorly on COVID. He was in the numbers, the same numbers as New York — a little bit worse than New York."
Despite the combative primary looming, along with legal attacks, Trump said "we're doing very well" in the polls.
"Our primary opponent, who will be the opponent I guess someday — even though I got him elected — but my primary opponent is sort of crashing," Trump said of recent polls between him and DeSantis.
"He said a lot of things that people don't like, including some votes that he took against Social Security and Medicare, which never helps in the polls."
Trump issued pointed policy and voting record rebuke of DeSantis.
"He's bad on education," Trump said. "Bad on COVID. Bad on many different things that people don't know about as somebody I feel like I am running against, even though he has not announced.
"Even that, he's supposed to announce. He's running for president, but he doesn't want to announce.
"I just assume he's running; and, therefore, I attack. But I am not looking to attack Republicans."
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