Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is not making any presidential campaign announcements before the end of his state's legislative session, but he is sure talking like he will be throwing his hat in the 2024 GOP presidential primary race.
And, he told Newsmax in an exclusive interview Thursday night, you can forget about him working with former President Donald Trump.
"I think I'm probably more of an executive guy," DeSantis told "Eric Bolling The Balance." "I think that you want to be able to do things. That's part of the reason I got into this job is because we have action.
"We're able to make things happen, and I think that's probably what I am best suited for."
Host Eric Bolling asked, since DeSantis has yet to announce — current Florida law would force him to step down as governor if he did — would he entertain an invitation from a prospective GOP-nominee Trump to be his vice president?
He laughed it off with the response above. And, as for asking Trump to be his vice president if he were to be nominated, DeSantis smiled and called it "interesting speculation" before pivoting like a polished politician.
"The whole party, regardless of any personalities or individuals, you have got to be looking at 2024 and saying, if the Biden regime continues, and they're able to pick up 10-15 seats in the House and a Senate seat or two, this country is going to be in really, really bad shape," DeSantis said.
In the 18-minute interview, DeSantis hailed his achievements in Florida, saying he has given Republican leaders a "blueprint" to follow.
"As problematic as our country has been over the last couple of years — it seems like all these guys get these things wrong — if you have the right principles and you have the ability to lead, and you're willing to show the courage to do it, you can achieve good things," DeSantis told Bolling.
"We've done that in Florida. People have responded. So, we're proud of that."
DeSantis' "The Courage to Be Free: Florida's Blueprint for America's Revival" was released a month ago, detailing how he helped his state navigate COVID-19, while beating back attacks from woke ideologues and the damage of President Joe Biden's economic and border policies.
"It's part of the reason I wrote the book. Regardless of any type of higher office, I think it's a blueprint for other states to follow," DeSantis said.
Just follow the data, DeSantis said, pointing to Florida leading the nation in migration.
"People are leaving the left-wing states, and they're moving to red states," he continued. "Florida's obviously No. 1 for migration, but these other states are drawing population, too.
"People are voting with their feet about how they want to live."
For Floridians who do not want him to run for president, DeSantis said all great things come to an end.
"We have term limits for governor, so in 2026, one way or another, there will be two candidates running, and I will not be one of those," he said. "That's just the nature of it."
But, under his Florida gubernatorial administration, he has "realigned the foundations of the state of Florida."
"The old establishment is dead, and we've really created a new sheriff in town, and I think that's going to be really taking us far beyond me and probably into the next decade and beyond," DeSantis said, addressing concerned Floridians.
As for the attacks from Trump backers — and even the former president who has been an endorser of his — DeSantis rejects talk he is anything from being an "establishment" GOP candidate to even a Republican in Name Only (RINO).
"Other than laughing at it?" DeSantis asked when Bolling sought his response to that criticism.
"All people have to do is just open their eyes. There hasn't been a bolder governor in the country. I mean, who was taking on the establishment during COVID? Me.
"Everything we did in Florida from April of 2020 to the present, I did against people like [Dr. Anthony Fauci], the corporate media, a lot of the other entrenched bureaucracies, and we made sure that the state was able to thrive.
"I was pilloried for those decisions at the time, but now you look and see how well Florida has done."
DeSantis noted he even took on Disney's self-governance status because of its corporate liberal activism opposed to DeSantis' work to root out gender dysphoria indoctrination in schools.
"We're winning on these issues and delivering huge victories," DeSantis said.
Without mentioning Trump by name — save for a moment later in the interview when he spoke about support for Ukraine — DeSantis did reject "George Soros-funded" Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg's "weaponizing the prosecutorial power of government."
"What these guys do is they get into office and it's not about the rule of law," DeSantis said of Soros-funded progressive prosecutors across the country. "It's not about equal justice under law. It's about weaponizing the prosecutorial power to advance their agenda.
"Absolutely, they will use that power to excuse crimes, which Bragg does on a daily basis, while then trying to use that same power to go after people based on selective prosecution and political grounds.
"Weaponizing the prosecutorial power of government to be able to go after opposing politicians or people you don't like is fundamentally wrong. And these Soros DAs are really at the forefront of doing that."
DeSantis said protesting rogue prosecutors is an "individual" decision, but he did warn that Republican voters in deep blue areas are not going to be treated fairly.
"If you're in a really deep blue jurisdiction, like Washington, D.C., perhaps Manhattan, and you're somebody that's kind of our side of the fence politically, you're going to be treated more harshly than people that are on the other side politically," DeSantis warned.
"I think there is a separate standard of justice, so people should just be mindful of that, but it's sad that you have to say it."
While DeSantis was able to avoid direct references to Trump or running for president, he did give a little tease that he is planning to be away from the governor's mansion a lot soon.
Bolling asked him about his family and whether there will be a dog added to it. DeSantis said his toddler's requests are under consideration but on hold because, "We need to be here.
"You got to give the dog attention," DeSantis said, suggesting he will not be around enough to take care of a dog at home. "That's what we're going to work on doing: to try to figure out to make sure the dogs get the adequate amount of attention."
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