Ron DeSantis rules out being Trump’s running mate: ‘I’m not a number two guy’

Florida governor currently trailing former president in race for Republican nomination for president

Abe Asher
Thursday 13 July 2023 04:52 BST
Fox news host doesn’t hold back on Ron Desantis’ poll numbers

Ron DeSantis, who is trailing Donald Trump in the race for the Republican nomination for president, has said he is not interested in becoming Mr Trump’s running mate.

“I don’t think so,” Mr DeSantis said when asked about the possibility on the Wisconsin Right Now radio programme. “I’m not a No 2 guy. I think I’m a leader. Governor of Florida, I’ve been able to accomplish a lot. I think I probably could do more staying there than being VP, which doesn’t really have any authority.”

Mr DeSantis, however, may well be a number two guy when it comes to the Republican primary.

After being boosted for months as a top challenger to Mr Trump, the Florida governor has struggled to gain traction in the early months of his presidential bid – dealing with declining poll and favourability numbers in recent weeks.

Mr DeSantis has also been the target of repeated attacks from Mr Trump and his allies, who have hit Mr DeSantis on everything from his record as a congressman to his handling of the Covid crisis to his personal demeanor. In recent weeks, Mr DeSantis has hit back and attacked Mr Trump in turn.

The seemingly growing personal animosity between the two men may decrease the odds that they share a ticket come next fall – an idea that Mr DeSantis, at least at this point, claims he’s not interested in.

Mr DeSantis also demurred when asked who he might consider to be his running mate, saying it is “a little bit presumptuous to be doing that at this stage”.

“I’m here to win the early primaries, and that’s what we’ve got to do first,” Mr DeSantis said.

To win any early primaries, Mr DeSantis is going to need a dramatic reversal of fortunes. Recent independent polls show him trailing Mr Trump by as many as 23 points in Iowa.

Steven Cheung, a spokesperson for Mr Trump, poured cold water on Mr DeSantis’ aims.

“Ron DeSantis isn’t anybody’s guy,” he said in a statement reported by The New York Times and other outlets. “He’s not ‘the guy’. He’s just ‘a guy’. Ron is just there, sullen and sad, because his numbers are as tiny as him.”

Speculation has mounted over the last several months about who Mr Trump might select as his running mate, should he win the nomination after his break with former vice president Mike Pence.

Some reporting has suggested Mr Trump and his team are interested in selecting a woman for the role.

Current vice president Kamala Harris is the first woman to ever serve in the role.

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