The inner circles of former President Donald Trump and the governor of Florida engaged in a back-and-forth war of words this week over plans for the former president to rally with supporters in the state this weekend.
The right-leaning Washington Examiner reported this week that Gov Ron DeSantis’s office had made a “direct plea” to the former president’s camp, urging them to reconsider plans to host an event in Sarasota this weekend while the state continues rescue efforts in Miami, where the collapse of a condominium has left nearly two dozen confirmed dead and more than 100 more unaccounted for.
The former president refused, however, with one source close to Mr Trump telling the publication that Mr Trump was planning to go forward with the rally. A spokesperson added that his team was urging supporters to donate to charities collecting relief aid for families affected by the disaster in Surfside, Florida, a small spit of land part of Miami-Dade county and the larger Miami city area.
One former aide to the governor told the Examiner that it was completely “tone-deaf” for the former president to host a political event while state officials were rallying together to respond to the tragedy.
“We’re talking about 150 people that are missing,” the former DeSantis aide said, according to the 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,” they added.
Other Florida GOP sources confirmed the feud was occurring behind closed doors, with one telling the Examiner: "There’s a huge rift between the DeSantis and Trump [camps].”
While spokespersons for both Mr Trump’s team and the Florida Republican Party denied the existence of bad blood between the two teams in statements to the publication, it was apparent on Twitter, where some of Mr Trump’s fans excoriated Mr DeSantis over a video of him thanking President Joe Biden during a face-to-face meeting with the Democratic president on Thursday.
A spokesperson for Mr Trump’s team did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Independent about the comments from Mr DeSantis’s allies in the Examiner.
Mr Biden’s visit to the state, which was utterly nonpartisan in nature, sharply contrasted with Mr Trump’s plans for a Democrat-bashing political rally over the weekend in a way that one Florida GOP operative said was bad for the country.
“[R]ight 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,” the operative told the Examiner, adding, “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.”
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