Setting up a ground-shaking 2024 Republican primary battle, former President Donald Trump expressed a deep disappointment in Florida GOP Gov. Ron DeSantis' lack of "loyalty."
"Look, right now, I'm very down on him," Trump told Newsmax's "Greg Kelly Reports" in an exclusive interview on Monday. "I'm a believer in loyalty.
"I'm very disappointed in him, because I'm a loyal person, maybe to a fault," Trump added to host Greg Kelly.
DeSantis has not announced a 2024 GOP primary campaign yet, but Trump told Kelly that the Florida governor should have not turned his back on the former president who had endorsed him multiple times in the past.
"I'm a loyal person and somebody gets you into office and then you're telling people, 'Well, I don't know if I'll run against the president,'" Trump lamented. "You know, I mean, life shouldn't have to work that way, but it does, and that's OK, too.
"A lot of people said loyalty doesn't mean anything to me. Loyalty means a lot."
It is why Trump is resigned to battling DeSantis, even if it means a GOP primary challenge with the Republican Party establishment.
"He has obviously not run a very good campaign, because he's getting crushed," Trump told Kelly, referring to polls that have surged further in Trump's favor after Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg's indictment.
Trump maintains he does not "know him that well," but he had "agreed to endorse him" for the benefit of the GOP in the key battleground state of Florida.
"I did it because I didn't know the people he was running against," Trump said. "He was running against a man that was way up in the polls, leading by a massive amount. That election was over.
"When I endorsed him, the election was over in Ron's favor. I mean, Ron was getting ready to quit."
Trump boasted his initial endorsement of DeSantis, who began in the House of Representatives, had jump-started his career.
"Well, I endorsed him once and he was losing badly, and because of the endorsement, he won in a landslide — the following — literally the following day," Trump said.
About NEWSMAX TV:
NEWSMAX is the fastest-growing cable news channel in America!
Eric Mack ✉
Eric Mack has been a writer and editor at Newsmax since 2016. He is a 1998 Syracuse University journalism graduate and a New York Press Association award-winning writer.
© 2023 Newsmax. All rights reserved.