Former President of the United States of America, Donald Trump has warned Florida’s Governor Ron DeSantis against running for the position of president in 2024, saying doing so would harm the Republican Party.
The former supremo also threatened to release unflattering information at his disposal about the 44-year-old, without providing details.
In Tuesday’s midterms, Gov. DeSantis won a landslide victory, further underlining his popularity and fueling speculation he will launch a bid just like Mr. Trump who is also tipped to announce a presidential run in the coming days.
In an interview with US network Fox News, he said that the Florida governor should stay out of the race.
“I don’t know if he is running. I think if he runs, he could hurt himself very badly. I really believe he could hurt himself badly,” Mr. Trump said. “I don’t think it would be good for the party.”
To many observers and experts, Mr. DeSantis is the most likely candidate to supplant Mr. Trump as the Republican candidate to run for president in 2024.
Mr. Trump’s comments came just hours before Tuesday’s midterm elections to decide control of Congress.
He also branded the rising Republican star “Ron DeSanctimonious” at a rally over the weekend.
If Mr. DeSantis were to announce a presidential bid, Mr. Trump said he would reveal “things about him that won’t be very flattering – I know more about him than anybody – other than, perhaps, his wife”.
He did not provide details – but this is not the first time Mr. Trump has threatened to release damaging information about rivals.
He later described his potential opponent as “a fine guy” and denied there was a dispute between them. “There’s not a tiff with me, and I’m way up in the polls,” he said.
Mr. DeSantis is a relative newcomer to politics but rose to national prominence after becoming the governor of Florida in 2019 and has positioned himself as an enthusiastic champion of conservativism.
Earlier in the day of the midterm polls, Mr. Trump – a resident of the state – told reporters gathered outside a polling station that he had voted for Mr. DeSantis.
However, Mr. DeSantis has been tight-lipped about a potential presidential run, but speculation has been rife. Mr. Trump, meanwhile, said on Monday that he would make a “very big announcement” on 15 November.