Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis did not plan to seek former President Donald Trump's formal endorsement while running for reelection this year, Politico reported Wednesday.
DeSantis has become a force in Republican circles, with talk of a possible 2024 presidential run. Four people connected to the governor and former president told Politico that DeSantis had not asked Trump for the former president's endorsement and wasn't planning to.
"[DeSantis is] a Cat 5 hurricane in Florida politics — and in a good way if you are a Republican," veteran GOP consultant Anthony Pedicini told Politico.
"He is a force of nature."
Dave Abrams, a spokesperson for DeSantis' reelection campaign, declined to comment to Politico on whether the governor was seeking Trump's backing.
A person familiar with Trump's endorsement process told the outlet that if DeSantis asked for the former president's backing, "he would endorse him."
Trump hasn't said whether he will run for president in 2024, though he has told supporters they will be "very happy" with his ultimate decision.
That could set up a potential contest between Trump and DeSantis for the Republican presidential nomination.
Trump told Newsmax on Monday that his relationship with DeSantis was "very good" despite some media members having talked about a wedge between the two men.
"I was very responsible for him getting elected, as you know, but I have a very good relationship with him," Trump, who endorsed DeSantis in 2018, told "Eric Bolling The Balance" in an exclusive phone interview.
The former president added that he doubted that DeSantis had White House aspirations yet, particularly as he has his own 2022 Florida gubernatorial election to worry about.
"I don't know that he wants to run," Trump told Bolling. "Now, I have a good relationship with Ron. I don't know that he wants to run."
Christian Ziegler, vice chair of the Republican Party of Florida, told Politico that talk about the Trump-DeSantis relationship was part of "false narratives" pitting the two GOP heavyweights against each other.
"Republicans understand what's going on and we won't be fooled," Ziegler said in a text message to Politico. "We aren't just unified, but we are ecstatic to be living in a state that is governed by DeSantis and counts President Donald Trump as a resident."
Although many GOP congressional candidates have asked for Trump's endorsement, such a declaration likely would not affect DeSantis' front-runner status in Florida.
DeSantis even has topped Trump in Wisconsin and Nevada straw polls, and the annual Western Conservative Summit survey.
A recent Morning Consult-Politico poll, though, found that Trump held a 37-point lead over DeSantis in a hypothetical 2024 GOP primary.
Club for Growth poll results also showed Trump "handily" defeating DeSantis in most states in a head-to-head matchup for the GOP presidential nomination.
Politico on Sunday reported that DeSantis had been winning over some of Trump's biggest benefactors.
A DeSantis-aligned political committee, Friends of Ron DeSantis, had received $3.4 million this election cycle from 10 donors who also earmarked $24 million for Trump's reelection bid in 2020, Politico reported.
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