- Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis denies telling Trump not to host a rally in the wake of the Surfside disaster.
- The Washington Examiner first reported that DeSantis asked Trump to cancel a rally in Sarasota.
- A Trump spokesperson defended the rally, saying it “is on the other side of the state, 3 1/2 hours away.”
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Gov. Ron DeSantis' team is pushing back on reports that he's feuding with former President Donald Trump over his plans to hold a rally in Florida in the wake of the tragic Surfside building collapse.
The Washington Examiner had reported that DeSantis had “made a direct plea” to Trump to “read the room” and not to hold a planned rally in Sarasota, Florida, on July 3.
Authorities have confirmed that 18 people have died in a devastating accident when a 12-story condo tower north of Miami toppled to the ground shortly after 1 a.m. on June 24. As of July 1, 147 residents are still missing and unaccounted for.
President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden are set to travel to Miami on Thursday to visit the disaster site and meet with victims' families.
“Governor DeSantis is focusing on his duties as Governor and the tragedy in Surfside, and has never suggested or requested that events planned in different parts of Florida — from the Stanley Cup finals to President Trump's rally — should be canceled,” the statement said.
DeSantis' office added: “He wants all Floridians to enjoy the holiday weekend and celebrate Independence Day however they choose, while keeping the Surfside families and first responders in their prayers.”
Trump's spokesman Liz Harrington also defended Trump's decision to hold the rally in a statement to outlets including the Examiner, saying, “The event in Sarasota, however, is on the other side of the state, 3 1/2 hours away, approximately the same distance from Boston to New York, and will not impact any of the recovery efforts.”
DeSantis, elected in 2018, has become one of Trump's closest and most favored allies in recent years and has seen his own profile rise among conservative lawmakers.
But DeSantis' possible ambitions for higher office, like the presidency, could put him on a collision course with Trump if Trump chooses to run for a second term in 2024.
DeSantis also has tangled and clashed in the past with Florida GOP operative Susie Wiles, who previously worked for DeSantis' campaign and is now heading up Trump's political operation out of Florida.
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