Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on Tuesday called speculation he is eyeing the GOP nomination for president in 2024 "nonsense" even though he plans to attend an event in Nebraska in a few days with other Republicans who do have their eyes on that very prize.
"All the speculation about me is purely manufactured," DeSantis said during a press conference on a COVID-19 treatment unit in his state, Politico reported. "I just do my job and we work hard … I hear all this stuff and honestly it's nonsense."
While DeSantis is up for reelection as governor is 2022, he has made multiple trips out of state in the past few months, Politico noted, including to California, Utah, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Indiana and Texas. He has stayed out of the early primary states of Iowa and New Hampshire, and had to skip an event in Nevada recently because a tropical storm was bearing down on Florida.
But those other appearances have served to raise his national name recognition, although they have caught him some heat back in the Sunshine State.
Democrats seeking to unseat him as governor next year — including Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried and Rep. Charlie Crist, who previously served as governor as a Republican — have been critical of DeSantis. They say he cares more about potential 2024 presidential voters than taking care of his own state where COVID-19 cases are ramping up amid the delta variant.
DeSantis' plans to speak Sunday at Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts' annual Nebraska Steak-Fry, where former Vice President Mike Pence and Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, are also scheduled to appear. Both Pence and Cruz are seen as contenders for the GOP nomination if former President Donald Trump chooses not to seek a second term in 2024.
But Trump himself has made moves to indicate he may well seek to regain his old job, and if he does he's indicated that this time around he might choose DeSantis as his running mate.
DeSantis has built himself up in recent years linking himself to Trump, and he received the then-president's endorsement in 2018 for the party's nomination when he sought and won the governorship.
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