Donald Trump has warned Ron DeSantis, the governor of Florida, not to challenge him for the Republican presidential nomination in 2024,
The former president also called for new leadership for the Republican party in the US Senate to replace Mitch McConnell, as he lays the ground for his bid for a second term in the White House.
Although DeSantis has not declared his intention to run for the presidency, he is considered Trump’s main rival for the top of the Republican ticket, and tensions have mounted in recent months.
“I don’t know if he is running. I think if he runs, he could hurt himself very badly. I really believe he could hurt himself badly,” Trump told Fox News in an interview released on Tuesday. “I think he would be making a mistake, I think the base would not like it — I don’t think it would be good for the party,” he added.
“If he did run, I will tell you things about him that won’t be very flattering. I know more about him than anybody other than perhaps his wife, who is really running his campaign,” Trump said.
Trump has said he would make a major announcement next week from Mar-a-Lago, suggesting he will probably launch his 2024 campaign shortly after the midterms.
Although Trump supports Kevin McCarthy’s bid to be speaker in the House of Representatives, he fired a warning shot against Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader in the Senate, calling him a “lousy” leader. “People are very upset with Mitch McConnell — I’ll tell you who is upset with him — the public,” Trump said.
Trump has continued to wield influence over the Republican party even after the probe into his role in the January 6 attack on the US Capitol and the criminal investigation into his handling of classified documents after leaving the White House.
He has also continued to falsely insist that the 2020 election was rigged. “It was a stolen election, and they shouldn’t let it happen again,” he said.