According to the
As the death toll reached 18 with 145 people still missing, players from both Trumps and DeSantis’s teams butted heads over continuing to hold the rally.
Trump held his first campaign-style rally since losing the presidency in Ohio last week. Saturday would be his second stop in a tour across presidential
Former President Donald Trump will still be holding his ‘Save America’ campaign-style rally this weekend in Sarasota despite Florida Governor Ron DeSantis allegedly begging him to cancel it
According to a report, DeSantis begged Trump to cancel it because of its proximity to the Champlain Towers South condo collapse
An anonymous source close to Trump told the Washington Examiner that ‘nobody wants to cancel’ the rally.
‘The governor is getting tested here as to how far he’s going to be pushed before he breaks ranks with President Trump. And he has to be very careful because this is Trump country,’ the source told the Washington Examiner. ‘The base loves the president. But they equally love Ron. It’s a showdown going on right now.’
DeSantis is facing pressure from across the globe regarding how he handles the aftermath of the Miami condo collapse as response teams from Israel and Mexico are aiding the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s rescue efforts. Florida political leaders from across the aisle are constantly present at the site.
‘We’re talking about 150 people that are missing,’ a former Trump aide anonymously told the Washington Examiner. ‘There’s massive loss of life. People are grieving. There’s a lot of confusion as to what other buildings might be affected. Right now, the governor is down there almost every single day. What, you’re gonna go across and do a rally and beat up Democrats? It’s tone-deaf.’
Both Trump and DeSantis are potential contenders in the 2024 election. DeSantis is one of the most popular politicians in the country, weathering the coronavirus pandemic and recently besting Trump in a presidential straw poll this month. DeSantis captured 74% to 71% for Trump. Last year, Trump secured 95% support.
He is seen by many as a future president who can push Trump’s most popular policies, but with a less divisive and abrasive personality.
An unnamed source said, ‘There’s a huge rift between the DeSantis and Trump [camps],’ and alleged it ties to tensions between the Florida governor and Trump’s post-president lead Susie Wiles, a former top Trump campaign official.
Wiles, a veteran political strategist in the Sunshine State, led Trump’s Florida team in the 2016 election and DeSantis’s 2018 campaign for governor. However, their relationship was tested when Wiles returned to Trump’s camp for the 2020 election and DeSantis allegedly tried to discourage donors from contributing to the Republican National Convention.
But Christina Pushaw, the governor’s press secretary, denied such claims and said DeSantis never called for the event to be canceled
Another anonymous operative said that this would only add fuel to the fire regarding Trump’s decision to keep the rally scheduled. ‘Because Ron DeSantis doesn’t want it, she’s gonna make sure it happens. The governor supports the president, but something awful just happened in his state.’
‘We can walk and chew gum at the same time. But right now, there’s a Kumbaya moment. People need this. We need everybody to come together, we need to see that to start healing this country. And we saw a little bit of that today for the first time in five years. Today was the first day that people were like, “Maybe there’s hope that our country can come back together again.” Only for, on Saturday, the former president tearing the Band-Aid off: He’s gonna go for the jugular.’
Meanwhile, President Joe Biden and his wife Jill are set to visit the site Thursday.
In promotions of the Trump event, the Republican Party of Florida urged attendees of the rally to donate to two local relief funds. And an unnamed source said that Trump could hold a moment of silence for the mourning Surfside community.
Liz Harrington, a spokeswoman for Trump, defended the rally and told the Washington Examiner that Trump spearheaded the fundraising push.
‘Like all Americans, President Trump sends his deepest condolences to those who’ve lost loved ones or been displaced by the terrible tragedy in Surfside. The event in Sarasota, however, is on the other side of the state, 3 1/2 hours away, approximately the same distance from Boston to New York, and will not impact any of the recovery efforts. In fact, President Trump has instructed his team to collect relief aid for Surfside families both online and on-site at the Sarasota rally.’
Some claim that Trump and DeSantis have no bad blood whatsoever and the claims that they are feuding over holding the rally are actually all rumors.
Christina Pushaw, press secretary for the governor’s office, claimed that DeSantis never even called for the event to be canceled.
‘Gov. DeSantis is focusing on his duties as governor and the tragedy in Surfside, and has never suggested or requested that events planned in different parts of Florida — from the Stanley Cup Finals to President Trump’s rally — should be canceled. He wants all Floridians to enjoy the holiday weekend and celebrate Independence Day however they choose, while keeping the Surfside families and first responders in their prayers.’
And Helen Aguirre Ferre, the Florida Republican Party’s executive director and a former DeSantis aide, backed up Pushaws’s statement, adding that it was a rumor that DeSantis and Trump feuded over holding the rally.
‘It is completely untrue that there is a rift between Gov. DeSantis and President Trump or between their teams. To the contrary. Gov. DeSantis knows the Republican Party of Florida is working with the Trump team for the July 3rd rally in Sarasota in celebration of the founding of our country. In addition, we are encouraging all those who are attending to generously contribute to the victims of the tragedy at Surfside.’
Trump told Maria Bartiromo in April that he was open to running alongside DeSantis in 2024.
‘He’s a friend of mine. I endorsed Ron, and after I endorsed him, he took off like a rocket ship. A lot of people like that — you know, I’m just saying what I read and what you read — they love that ticket … certainly, Ron would be considered. He’s a great guy.’