Ron DeSantis and Joe Biden Brawl a Potential Preview of Ugly 2024 Race

Clashes between Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and President Joe Biden could potentially set the tone for a possible clash in 2024.

Biden has said he expects he will run for a second White House term, while DeSantis is considered a frontrunner for the GOP presidential nomination—touted as a potential candidate should former President Donald Trump not run again.

The pair took shots at each other this week as they outlined disagreements in approaches to handling the COVID-19 pandemic.

Biden urged certain governors on Tuesday: "If you're not going to help, get out of the way of the people that are trying to do the right thing. Use your power to save lives."

DeSantis took issue with Biden having "taken to himself to single out Florida over COVID."

In response to Biden's remarks, he said: "If you're trying to restrict people and impose mandates and ruin their jobs and livelihood, if you are trying to lock people down.

"I am standing in your way."

He went on to turn to attribute COVID numbers in his state in part to people crossing the southern border. While DeSantis has defended his positions, his approval rating has slumped as his state struggles with the Delta variant.

When asked about DeSantis' remarks about standing in his way, Biden responded to reporters: "Governor who?"

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki also responded to DeSantis' comments, tweeting footage of the governor's remarks and writing: "We are doing everything we can to help the people of FL, and they're stepping up by getting vaccinated – we hope @GovRonDeSantis joins us in this fight."

Biden has so far shown he is not afraid to speak strongly of those he disagrees with, while in his race against Trump in 2020 he happily stood his ground and offered his fair share of rebukes amid onslaughts from the then-president.

At his first presidential press conference back in March, Biden said he expects to run again and with Vice President Kamala Harris as his running mate.

For DeSantis, his decision looks more likely based on whether Trump chooses to run again. Trump has hinted at doing so but has not confirmed so far.

With Trump removed from the equation, DeSantis has been a frontrunner.

"I think he's the odds-on favorite to be the next president, if Trump doesn't run again," Joe Gruters, who holds a seat on Florida's state Senate and chairs its Republican Party, said of DeSantis in comments to NBC News in March.

Former South Carolina GOP chair Matt Moore spoke of DeSantis' rising popularity among Republicans in comments to Politico in February.

"Republicans seem to want Trumpism done with attention to detail and an actual policy agenda," Moore said.

At CPAC in February, Trump was the top name with 55 percent stating they would back him. DeSantis trailed him at 21 percent, but was far ahead of other potential names. After him the highest-ranking potential name was South Dakota Kristi Noem, at 4 percent.

At CPAC's Dallas event in June, Trump also came top in the straw poll with DeSantis in second. With Trump removed from the equation, DeSantis received 68 percent of the votes cast, putting him clearly in the lead should the former president not run again.

A straw poll conducted by the Western Conservative Summit in June actually saw DeSantis edge out Trump in terms of the percentage of respondents who approved of him as a presidential candidate.

While DeSantis' decision might not be entirely in his own hands, should Trump not run a DeSantis-Biden clash looks like a potential matchup—in which their war of words could escalate further.

Newsweek has contacted DeSantis' office and the White House for comment.

joe biden and ron desantis split
President Joe Biden (Left) and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (Right) have clashed of late, potentially prefacing the sort of sparring that could be seen if they face each other in 2024. Win McNamee/Joe Raedle/Getty Images


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