Tensions between former President Donald Trump and current Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) have increased recently, in advance of their potential competition in the 2024 presidential primaries.

For months, Trump has criticized DeSantis, voicing resentment for his rapid political rise. This criticism has only gotten more overt of late. He reportedly has privately called DeSantis “dull” and lacking in “personal charisma.”

Last week, Trump appeared in an interview and criticized politicians who have not admitted to receiving the Covid-19 booster. The comment is widely viewed to be a thinly-veiled attack on DeSantis.

“The answer is yes, but they don’t want to say it, because they’re gutless,” Trump said. “You got to say it. Whether you had it or not, say it.”


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Trump, himself, received the vaccine in January 2021 before he left office, without photographers present and without publicizing his vaccination status. He largely avoided confirming thereafter that he had received the vaccine.

Trump’s recent comments about the booster come after he said at a Dallas, Texas rally that he received his booster, which was met with boos from the crowd. Former Fox News host Bill O’Reilly said that Trump called him about the event. O’Reilly advised Trump to take credit for his administration’s role in developing the vaccine, to bolster his political endeavors.

Trump’s dislike of DeSantis partially owes to the fact that DeSantis has not publicly denied that he would challenge Trump for the 2024 primaries. He is also reportedly upset by DeSantis’s apparent lack of deference. For example, DeSantis, a staunch opponent of Covid-19 restrictions, said in a recent interview that he regrets not fighting harder against Trump’s stay at home order at the beginning of the pandemic.

DeSantis has denied any tension between himself and Trump, saying that this narrative is perpetuated by those who seek to divide the Republican party. “We need everybody united for a big red wave in 2022,” he said. “We’ve got to fight the left, and not only fight, but beat the left. And that’s what we’re doing in Florida.”

Polling has shown notable popularity for DeSantis in a potential 2024 Republican primary, though he currently remains a distant second to Trump. Plenty of time remains before the start of the primaries for this to change, however.

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