- The Washington Times
Monday, October 4, 2021

Former President Donald Trump said he thinks most GOP rivals would drop out if he entered the 2024 presidential primary, but said he would beat Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis if the Republican ally decided to challenge him.

“If I faced him, I’d beat him like I would beat everyone else,” Mr. Trump told Yahoo Finance.

Mr. Trump, who remains popular with the GOP base, said he doesn’t think he would have to square off against Mr. DeSantis, who aligned himself with Mr. Trump during his gubernatorial run.

“I don’t think I will face him,” Mr. Trump said. “I think most people would drop out, I think he would drop out.”

Mr. Trump hasn’t said whether he plans to run, but there are signs he is interested.

The ex-president was kicked off Twitter after whipping up the crowd that attacked the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, but he needles President Biden constantly about his chaotic exit from Afghanistan and other missteps through daily press releases.

Mr. DeSantis hasn’t said whether he will run for president. He recently told Fox News that he has “a lot of stuff going on in Florida.”

He enjoys front-runner status in GOP-primary polls that don’t include Mr. Trump, particularly after Mr. DeSantis took a hands-off approach to COVID-19 while other states imposed lockdown measures or mask mandates.

A contest between Mr. Trump and Mr. DeSantis would be quite the rift. In 2018, Mr. DeSantis aligned himself with Mr. Trump so much that one of his campaign ads in the governor’s face depicted him teaching his daughter how to “build the wall” with toy blocks.

• Tom Howell Jr. can be reached at thowell@washingtontimes.com.

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