WINK NEWS

Former President Donald Trump has announced his intention to run for president again in 2024, but the announcement raises questions about a potential showdown between him and Gov. Ron DeSantis.

On Wednesday in Matlacha, Desantis refused to give an opinion on the division of the brewing republic. So, is there a battle between the governor and Trump?

One of the state’s largest newspapers, The Miami Herald, went so far as to declare that “the Republican Party’s civil war is against Ron and Don.”

WINK News asked Republican Congressman Byron Donalds if this claim about the GOP civil war is true. Are Florida’s most prominent Republicans threatening party unity?

Donalds said no. He said that Donald Trump is the leader of the party and the man who should be the Republican Party’s nominee for president in 2024.

As for Ron DeSantis, Donalds said he should focus on running for governor and wait until 2028.

Donalds believes that Republicans have the best of both worlds; a great governor and a great president who wants to be president again.

He says the party needs to deal with it and rally behind Donald Trump.

“I don’t think we’re going to split the Republican Party, I actually think that would be really silly. Our party is actually not in very good shape. He is a man who has done the work and has the opportunity to do it again. So he will set the pace for it. I think the timing is entirely up to him. Good, bad or indifferent, it honestly doesn’t matter. That’s all he’s determined to get in the race he’s chosen now. And now we begin,” said Donalds.

The GOP suffered some high-profile losses during the midterm elections, but Florida was dominated by the GOP. That’s why Donalds believes Florida is the future of the Republican Party.

Trump officially announced his candidacy for the presidency on Tuesday night, and he considers himself the front-runner.

“This will not be my company. This will be our company,” Trump said during the announcement on Tuesday.

But is Trump the favorite of his party? Many are talking about DeSantis as the more attractive candidate.

The governor was in Matlacha on Wednesday to talk about the response to Hurricane Ian, and as he fielded any questions, WINK News asked if Republicans might be forced to choose between him and Trump.

“We just finished this election, okay. People just need a little break from these things,” DeSantis said.

Then the governor quickly switched to what the Republican Party still has ahead of it.

“The Georgia runoff is coming up, and it’s very important for the Republicans to win the Georgia runoff. I mean, I know that across the country, Florida was the biggest bright spot. It was not so bright in many other parts of the country. It was a poor performance given the dynamics that were in the game,” DeSantis said.

For months, people have been asking the governor if he plans to run for president. He never said yes and he never said no.

He did tout his record and hinted that he could do the job on the national stage.

“You look at all the problems in the country. Inflation, open border, all these different things, lots of failures. Florida is an example of, you know, you can do big things right,” DeSantis said.

DeSantis said during his visit that he wants to make the most of that second term. He said the Republican Party should do everything now that it has a supermajority.

WINK News asked two political analysts if DeSantis faced Donald Trump, what would happen to the Grand Old Party?

“I think it would have split him,” said Reed Galen, co-founder of The Lincoln Project.

Political scientist Susan McManus agreed.

Gallen said that if DeSantis does decide to run, “he’s going to be the top Trump candidate in the country, because that’s what he’s going to be.”

He also predicts that Trump will become unpopular if that happens.

“It’s a very personal thing. And if you’re going to go after Donald, you better be ready that you’ve decided, well, that’s a fight I have to fight every day,” Gallen said.

His advice to the governor? “I would sit down. Because here’s one thing I know, even if you ran against Donald Trump and beat him in the primary, Trump will make sure you never become president. He’s going to make sure that every die-hard MAGA voter in the country stays home, or worse, votes for a Democrat, whoever that is.”

McManus said it’s too early to say who will win the Trump-Desantis matchup.

“There have been some polls that show DeSantis beating Trump in Florida. But that was done a while ago, things change,” McManus said.

After all, both experts said we may not see either in the White House.

“Let’s face it, this might not be the final pool. There are a lot of other people who would also like to run,” McManus said.

There are plenty of others who may decide that 2024 is their time to run for president as a Republican, and all of them will know that they will likely have to beat Donald Trump to have a chance at winning the White House.

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