Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) says he can defeat President Biden in a 2024 matchup.
In a Monday interview with Piers Morgan, published by The New York Post, the rising Republican star and likely presidential candidate pointed to his winning record in Florida’s 2022 midterm elections to argue that he has the kind of broad appeal needed to win a presidential election next year.
“I’m running against Biden,” DeSantis said. “Like [Trump and I] are competing for the Republican, potentially, I get that, but ultimately you know the guy I’m gonna focus on is Biden because I think he’s failed the country. I think the country wants a change. I think they want a fresh start and a new direction, and so we’ll be very vocal about that.”
Asked whether he thinks he could beat Biden, the Florida governor replied: “I think so.”
DeSantis hasn’t said much about his 2024 ambitions. He’s repeatedly brushed off questions about whether he’ll seek the White House next year, though he’s actively preparing for a campaign and a formal decision is widely expected in late spring after the Florida state legislature closes out its annual session.
Still, DeSantis is showing all the characteristics of a politician intent on running for higher office. In his interview with Morgan, DeSantis boasted about his record as Florida’s governor — a budget surplus, environmentally friendly policies and “tough-on-crime” policies — arguing that he has what it takes to win over independent voters.
That broad political appeal, he said, amounts to a winning formula for Republicans in 2024.
“I won with independents by 18 points,” DeSantis said. “And so that will be the same formula that we would take, and honestly forget about me, I think anybody should take the formula like that nationally. You can’t win with just Republicans. You’ve gotta win with independents and you need to convince some of these Democrats, which I was able to do in Florida, because they’re not woke, they don’t like some of the nonsense going on.”
DeSantis’s interview with Morgan, a Fox News host who has a complicated history with Trump, offered some of the Florida governor’s most bullish comments yet about a potential 2024 presidential run.
For weeks, he’s faced unrelenting criticism and derision from Trump, who’s running once again for the GOP’s presidential nod. DeSantis, however, has largely shrugged off the attacks, insisting that he’s focused only on his job as Florida governor.
At one point in his interview with Morgan, DeSantis mocked the nickname Trump’s uses to deride him — “Ron DeSanctimonious” — saying: “I don’t know how to spell the sanctimonious one.”
“I don’t really know what it means, but I kinda like it, it’s long, it’s got a lot of vowels,” DeSantis said. “We’ll go with that, that’s fine. I mean you can call me whatever you want, just as long as you also call me a winner because that’s what we’ve been able to do in Florida, is put a lot of points on the board and really take this State to the next level.”