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Gaetz says Trump-DeSantis ticket would be terrific, but wants DeSantis as governor

By Savannah Hamilton
|
March 5, 2023

Representative Matt Gaetz (FL-01) hinted at a potential collaboration between Trump and Ron DeSantis for the 2024 presidential election, suggesting that having the two as running mates would reunite the Republican Party and guarantee a win for the conservatives.

“I think that a Trump-DeSantis ticket would be terrific,” Gaetz said in an interview.

During his speech on Friday at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), Gaetz spoke highly of both politicians but stated firmly that he fully stands behind Trump first. He believes that Trump’s clear power and influence over the American people make him the top choice for being the lead 2024 Republican nominee.

However, he also voiced his support for the Florida governor, who is seen as a likely rival to Trump on the road to the White House. “I think very highly of him,” Gaetz said, adding, “selfishly, I want him to stay my governor for the full eight years that Floridians elected him for.”

DeSantis has not yet formally announced a run for candidacy, but many expect him to in the near future.

With Republicans becoming increasingly divided on whether Trump deserves the presidential title again, Gaetz and others believe that this could be the ultimate solution.

The two as running mates, in Gaetz’s eyes, would be a win-win for Republicans in reuniting the party and all but guaranteeing that Republicans take the White House once again.

A Calendar Conflict

This year’s CPAC was held over four days from March 1-4 and held at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center just outside Washington D.C. It is considered the largest gathering of conservatives around the globe and featured keynote speakers such as former President Trump, Steven Bannon, Sean Hannity, Jim Jordan, and Lauren Boebert. 

Unfortunately, it was not as exciting of an event compared to previous years since another popular conservative event, a donor retreat hosted by the Club for Growth, an anti-tax organization, was happening at the same time in Palm Beach.

This forced many conservatives to make a choice, and some political experts suggest that the decisions were more due to politics and logistics. 

Trump, for example, was not invited to the retreat, despite it being held near his home in Mar-a-Lago. DeSantis, on the other hand, opted out of CPAC altogether, as did Mike Pence, choosing to show up in Palm Beach instead. Presidential candidate Nikki Haley was one of the few key figures to make it to both.

A Party Divided

With some conservatives choosing to attend one event but not the other, this sparked speculation that there is a growing divide within the party.

It was evident that the majority of CPAC attendees supported Trump over DeSantis. In a straw poll, Trump received a stunning 62% support, far ahead of DeSantis who came in second place with only 20% support. 

Despite this, there was plenty of support for DeSantis among CPAC attendees. If Trump wasn’t in the picture, DeSantis would absolutely top the polls, experts suggest. 

Though, there is steadfast contingency of Republicans who don’t think Trump has what it takes to win the next election, and could possibly do more harm than good to their party.

Former speaker Paul Ryan, for example, stated, “He cost us the House in ’18, he cost us the White House in ’20, he cost us the Senate again and again.”

This Time Has to Be Different

Gaetz explained that the 2024 presidential election won’t be like the previous ones. In order for Trump (or Republicans) to win, things will need to be different. Reuniting the party is the key to success, which is why a Trump-DeSantis card makes so much sense to the Florida congressman.

Whether Trump and DeSantis can put aside their very public feud in favor of a joint campaign ticket, remains to be seen.

If a Trump-DeSantis doesn’t materialize, Gaetz also sees Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (GA-14) as a potential running mate.