(NewsNation) — Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and his team are likely working on highlighting differences between himself and former President Donald Trump as a face-off during the 2024 presidential election is likely, according to an expert.
“He has to make a contrast in order to overtake Trump. And the challenge for DeSantis and for previous Republican candidates is that it’s really hard to do because they don’t want to insult Trump so badly that his voters would never turn to the attacker as a second option,” said Gregory Koger, political science professor at the University of Miami.
The former president has not let up on his attacks of DeSantis, slamming him most recently at his first 2024 campaign rally in Waco, Texas.
Governor DeSantis has not formally announced his 2024 bid for president, but is widely expected to do so in the next few months.
“Florida has been tremendously successful for many years, long before this guy became governor,” Trump said at the rally. “So he gets the nomination because of you, he wins the election because of you, so I’m not a big fan.”
“Trump is using his main weapon which is just come out swinging at his opponents,” Koger told NewsNation.
An average of the latest national polls shows Trump leading the possible Republican candidates by about 15 points, including DeSantis, who has mostly remained quiet in the face of Trump’s attacks.
“Nothing would infuriate Mr. Trump more and probably do Mr. DeSantis more good than to ignore Mr. Trump,” said NewsNation political contributor George Will. “If Mr. DeSantis is wise he would say, ‘Well I didn’t notice what he said about me.'”
Still, DeSantis fired back at Trump for the first time in an exclusive sit down with Fox News’ Piers Morgan, saying his relationship with the former president has changed.
“Times change. We had a good relationship as a Congressman. One of the things that changed his tune was my victory,” DeSantis told Morgan. “At the end of the day, let’s put the country first rather than worry about any personalities or any individuals.”