AP Photo/Butch Dill, File
- Donald Trump claims Ron DeSantis cried while asking for his endorsement in 2018.
- “There were tears coming down from his eyes. He said: ‘If you endorse me, I’ll win,'” said Trump.
- Trump backed DeSantis for governor in 2018. DeSantis clinched the GOP nomination, then won his race.
Former President Donald Trump claimed that in 2018, then-gubernatorial candidate Ron DeSantis cried while begging him for an endorsement.
“He was dead, he was leaving the race. He came over and he begged me, begged me, for an endorsement. He was getting ready to drop out,” Trump said on Thursday on the podcast “The Hugh Hewitt Show.”
“There were tears coming down from his eyes. He said: ‘If you endorse me, I’ll win,'” said Trump. “So I end up doing it, and he wins.”
—The Republican Accountability Project (@AccountableGOP) February 2, 2023
DeSantis was known for being the Trump-backed candidate in the 2018 GOP gubernatorial primary. In an endorsement tweet on June 22, 2018, Trump called DeSantis a “top student at Yale and Harvard Law School.”
“He will be a Great Governor & has my full Endorsement!” Trump tweeted at the time.
DeSantis ended up clinching the GOP nomination over Adam Putnam, the state’s agricultural commissioner. This was despite Putnam’s early edge over DeSantis.
DeSantis went on to defeat Democratic candidate Andrew Gillum in the 2018 gubernatorial race in Florida.
While it’s unclear if DeSantis did in fact shed tears during the interaction with Trump, he does have a history of expressing his ardent support for Trump. In July 2018, while he was running for governor, DeSantis released a campaign video in which he called himself a “pitbull Trump defender.”
In the ad, DeSantis can be seen sitting in an armchair reading Trump’s book, “The Art of the Deal,” to one of his children.
“Then, Mr. Trump said, ‘You’re fired!’ I love that part,” DeSantis says in the clip as the words “pitbull Trump defender” flash on the screen.
Trump announced his 2024 presidential campaign in November. DeSantis has not launched a presidential bid of his own.
In January, Trump preemptively said he will “handle” DeSantis if the governor decides to run against him. And Trump has wasted no time in launching attacks on his would-be adversary.
Trump on Saturday called it “very disloyal” of DeSantis to even consider running against him. And on Wednesday, Trump debuted a new label for DeSantis on Truth Social: “RINO Globalist” — a thinly veiled accusation that DeSantis is part of a global network of powerful, evil people.
While DeSantis has refrained from exchanging tit-for-tat insults with Trump, he did on Tuesday acknowledge the onslaught of insults.
“I roll out of bed, I have people attacking me from all angles, it’s been happening for many, many years,” DeSantis said during a press conference in response to a question about Trump’s attacks, per Politico.
Representatives for DeSantis and Trump did not immediately respond to Insider’s requests for comment.