Trump and DeSantis meet to make peace and discuss fundraising for the former president's campaign

Florida governor committed to helping Trump as he faces President Joe Biden in the general election
Gov. Ron DeSantis and former President Donald Trump
Posted at 1:03 PM, Apr 29, 2024

NEW YORK — Former president Donald Trump met privately with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis over the weekend, according to three people familiar with the discussion, marking a detente between the former rivals after a brutal primary contest marked by insults and bruised egos.

The meeting, which lasted three hours, was organized to help the men bury the hatchet and discuss potential joint fundraising efforts, according to one of the people, who spoke on condition of anonymity to share details of the private get-together. The governor, during the conversation, committed to helping Trump as he faces President Joe Biden in the general election, the person said.

The meeting, which was first reported by The Washington Post, was orchestrated by Florida real estate investor Steve Witkoff, who knows both men.

Witkoff did not immediately respond to a request for comment through his office.

On Monday, Trump said the two had had "a great meeting yesterday" and that he was "very happy to have the full and enthusiastic support of Governor Ron DeSantis of Florida."

"The conversation mostly concerned how we would work closely together to MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN. Also discussed was the future of Florida, which is FANTASTIC!" he wrote on his social media site. "I greatly appreciate Ron's support in taking back our Country from the Worst President in the History of the United States."

DeSantis has a deep network of donors from his runs for governor and president. He amassed an enormous war chest for his White House run, entering the race with $130 million in the bank.

Though he endorsed Trump when he dropped his bid for the GOP nomination in a video after failing to gain traction, DeSantis has yet to campaign or fundraise on Trump's behalf. Instead, he has, at times, needled Trump, including responding to a news story about some Republicans in the Florida legislature wanting to help fund Trump’s legal bills by posting, "But not the Florida Republican who wields the veto pen …"

The GOP primary was marked by a bitter rivalry between the two men, who had once been allies. Trump lambasted DeSantis as disloyal and nicknamed him Ron "DeSanctimonious," while DeSantis suggested Trump would lose again in November and said he'd "lost the zip on his fastball" over the years.

DeSantis' allies believe the Florida governor has a clear path to another presidential bid should he want one. But that path could be complicated by lingering hostilities in a party that overwhelmingly backs the former president, especially if he wins in November.