Aug 28, 2023 - Politics & Policy

"Fake news": DeSantis campaign denies Trump claim he might drop out of 2024 race

DeSantis in a blue suit and red tie in front of banners that say Fox News stands at a lectern speaking

Gov. Ron DeSantis at the first GOP primary debate on Aug. 23 in Milwaukee. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

GOP Gov. Ron DeSantis' presidential campaign on Monday dismissed former President Trump's suggestion that he had plans to drop out of the 2024 race.

Why it matters: Trump, the GOP presidential frontrunner, sending a missive about DeSantis' plans signals he still sees the Florida governor as a threat to his own campaign.

  • "Clearly, Donald Trump and his army of consultants are panicked about Ron DeSantis' winning debate performance and the strong momentum that has followed," Bryan Griffin, a press secretary for DeSantis' campaign, said in a statement.

Driving the news: Trump posted on Truth Social Monday that there was a "roomer" DeSantis would drop out of the presidential race and instead run against Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fl.).

  • Griffin called the post "fake news" and said Trump's campaign should instead be "focused on getting their candidate on the campaign trail in Iowa and on the debate stage."

Context: Trump was absent at first GOP presidential debate Wednesday, though his presence loomed large. Eight other candidates — including DeSantis, entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy and former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie — participated.

  • DeSantis, who is Trump's closest challenger, has still remained significantly behind the quadruply indicted former president even after appearing in the televised debate.
  • Trump, who instead did an interview with fired Fox News host Tucker Carlson that aired Wednesday, has cited his large polling advantage as reasoning for skipping.

Meanwhile, DeSantis is facing significant events in his home state, including a deadly shooting at a Dollar General over the weekend that's being investigated as a hate crime.

Go deeper: Meet the 2024 presidential candidates

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