Is Donald Trump About to Announce a 2024 Presidential Run — or Is He Trying to Scare Ron DeSantis? – Yahoo News

Rift Between Ron DeSantis and Donald Trump Spills Into Public View

Rift Between Ron DeSantis and Donald Trump Spills Into Public View

Chandan Khanna/AFP via Getty; Chip Somodevilla/Getty Ron DeSantis (left), Donald Trump

Donald Trump has been encouraged to launch his 2024 presidential campaign before the upcoming midterm elections because of the popularity of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who some Republicans would like to see run.

“Ron DeSantis is popular with Florida Republican voters, which is a good indication of how he would do nationally,” a political source tells PEOPLE. “He is not afraid to speak out on unpopular issues, and even more important than that, he is not afraid of Donald Trump.”

Sources say that Trump is unhappy with DeSantis because the governor did not defer to him while thinking about a potential run for president in 2024.

“Trump is right that he created DeSantis,” Dave Aronberg, state attorney for Palm Beach County and former member of the Florida Senate, tells PEOPLE. “Polls showed that Trump’s 2018 endorsement gave DeSantis an edge in the Florida governor’s race. You don’t shove Dr. Frankenstein aside.”

Another source close to the former president agrees that this issue has caused political turmoil.

“Donald thinks DeSantis owes his political career to him, and this has caused political friction,” a longtime New York business friend of Trump’s tells PEOPLE. “Plus, they were never close friends. They never mixed well.”

Trump is gregarious while DeSantis is introverted and “socially awkward,” the source says. Trump likes people; DeSantis likes to “keep people at a distance.”

“DeSantis has not promised to step aside,” says Aronberg. “He is running for president and doesn’t care who gets in his way.”

Ron DeSantisRon DeSantis

Ron DeSantis

Michael Reaves/Getty Ron DeSantis

Even though sources say Trump is angry and intimidated by DeSantis — and wants to flex his muscles now even if he doesn’t end up running — the idea of an early campaign launch came from those around him.

“Inside, Donald is a very insecure man with a fragile ego, and can’t stand when the attention is on someone else, especially someone who has talent and popularity already,” another political source tells PEOPLE. “Whether or not he launches early, his team is definitely putting the word out there.”

The business source says that Trump will not likely launch an early campaign even if he makes the moves about it to attract media attention. “Donald is enjoying his life,” the business source continues.

“He plays golf four to five days a week, he is doing other things in his life which a candidate can not do, and he is hosting the controversial, Saudi-backed LIV golf tournament at least once at his Bedminster golf course in New Jersey (July 29-31).”

Stephanie Grisham, a former Trump White House press secretary, tells PEOPLE she dismissed the buzz surrounding an early campaign launch as “Team Trump trying to distract the public from the Jan. 6 committee hearings.”

Acknowledging that Trump probably does feel threatened by the Florida governor — “his ego can’t take the thought of another R ‘running’ the party” — Grisham says she’s not sure she believes that he’s about to announce his candidacy.

RELATED: Arkansas’ GOP Governor Says Donald Trump Is ‘Politically and Morally Responsible’ for Jan. 6 Riots

If Trump runs for president in 2024, he could see some stiff competition with a politician like DeSantis who continually finds himself in the spotlight. The governor is popular with pro-business conservatives. He kept Florida’s economy open during much of the pandemic. He sides with some conservatives on LGBTQ+ issues, guns and others matters that over the years have made up the traditional Republican platform.

DeSantis also shows up at statewide tragedies instead of sending someone else. On June 24, 2021, when Champlain Towers South, a beachfront high-rise building in Surfside, Florida, partially collapsed — killing 98 people — the governor got to Miami Beach as quickly as possible.

“DeSantis spent many days at the Surfside condominium collapse when he could have sent others in his place,” a Florida political source tells PEOPLE. “He is shrewd and makes sure he looks like he is doing the right thing. He is a leader unruffled by controversy, and that is what this country needs despite his lack of public speaking talents and charisma that Trump shows on the stump.”

President Donald Trump speaks during a rally on November 3, 2020 in Grand Rapids, MichiganPresident Donald Trump speaks during a rally on November 3, 2020 in Grand Rapids, Michigan

President Donald Trump speaks during a rally on November 3, 2020 in Grand Rapids, Michigan

Kamil Krzaczynski/Getty Images President Donald Trump speaks during a rally in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

The source says that Trump’s team has been leaking the idea of launching an early campaign near Tallahassee, Florida, to attract media attention.

“There has been some light shining on Ron DeSantis, which angers Trump,” the political source says. “The team wants to try and scare DeSantis by securing as much Republican support for Trump as possible.”

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Trump is currently in a good political position. Although he has suffered primary endorsement losses in several states, like those running for governor in Nebraska, Georgia (and other candidates up and down the ballot) and Idaho, he is buoyed by Tuesday’s primaries which were held in North Dakota, Nevada, South Carolina, Maine, and Texas’ 34 Congressional District.

His support proved victorious in Nevada, South Carolina, and in a south Texas House seat vacated by a Democrat.

“With the economy looking bad, Trump is more likely waiting to see what happens closer to the end of the year,” the business friend says. “He has a good life, and no matter how much he is encouraged to launch an early campaign I do not believe he will do it. He hasn’t even decided if he will run at all.”

Aronberg is also not convinced that Trump will run.

“Whether he will be subject to criminal charges over the Jan. 6 insurrection could tell the story,” says Aronberg. “If he feels the charges are forthcoming he may well run.”

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