Republicans Urge Ron DeSantis to Respect Donald Trump: 'It's His Party'

Two prominent Republicans are urging Florida Governor Ron DeSantis to recognize that former President Donald Trump is leader of the Republican Party.

Former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows spoke to Newsmax on Tuesday and downplayed suggestions of a "feud" between Trump and DeSantis—while also affirming the former president's leading role in the GOP.

On the same day, Arizona State Senator Wendy Rogers posted a tweet calling on the Florida governor to say he would not run for president in 2024. Rogers is a staunch Trump ally who has advocated decertifying the state's 2020 election results.

The comments come amid a series of reports about tensions between Trump and DeSantis.

The former president appeared to take a swipe at DeSantis last week when he spoke about "gutless" politicians who won't reveal whether they've received a COVID booster.

On Friday, the governor told a podcast that he regretted not having been more vocal in opposing the Trump administration's stay-at-home measures at the beginning of the pandemic in 2020.

Meadows suggested on Newsmax that the media was to blame for talk of a feud between Trump and DeSantis.

"Governor DeSantis is doing a great job in Florida but he's also smart enough to know that this is the party of Trump. This will continue to be," Meadows said.

Meadows mentioned Trump's recent rally in Arizona and added: "It's his party. It's his decision on whether he runs for president or not. But I can tell you, if he does, it won't be Ron DeSantis challenging him.

"It'll be the media trying to create this conflict that obviously is not there."

DeSantis enjoys widespread popularity among Republican voters and is seen as a viable presidential candidate in 2024 according to polls, though Trump remains the favorite for the GOP nomination.

The governor has not ruled out seeking the nomination even if Trump runs, but has repeatedly said he's focused on re-election in Florida this year. He has not made any announcement about a potential presidential bid.

Rogers put matters bluntly, tweeting: "All @GovRonDeSantis has to do is say 'I will back Trump in 2024 and will not run against him'."

Rogers spoke at the former president's Arizona rally on Saturday and her most recent press release describes her as a "Trump-endorsed Arizona senator fighting to decertify the 2020 election in Arizona and restore trust in our elections."

She also expressed skepticism that DeSantis could mount a primary challenge to Trump.

"Trump would mop the floor with @GovRonDeSantis in 2024 - including in Florida," Rogers tweeted. "Take a lesson from Mike Pence - hero to zero in less than 24 hours. DeSantis needs to get on board with President Trump NOW or will be seen as a Benedict Arnold & his political career will be over."

Arizona has been a major focus of efforts to overturn the results of the election after Republicans in the state commissioned an audit from the controversial and now shuttered firm Cyber Ninjas. That audit ultimately affirmed President Joe Biden's victory.

DeSantis has denied there is any animosity between him and Trump, telling the Ruthless podcast on Friday that the media was to blame for the speculation.

"You cannot fall for the bait," the governor said. "You know what they're trying to do, so just don't take it. Just keep on keeping on."

Composite Image Shows Trump and DeSantis
A composite photo shows former President Donald Trump and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. Speculation about a "feud" between the two Republicans has been swirling in recent days. Getty Images

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