DeSantis declines to address 2024 chatter: ‘People just need to chill out a little bit’



Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on Wednesday declined to weigh in on the brewing divide among Republicans over who represents the future of the party, him or Donald Trump, saying instead, “People just need to chill out a little bit on some of this stuff.”

“I mean, seriously. We just ran an election,” DeSantis said at a news conference in Lee County. “We have this Georgia (Senate) runoff coming, which is very important for Republicans to win that Georgia runoff.”

However, DeSantis continued to tout his performance in last week’s election, in which he defeated Democrat Charlie Crist by 19 points, calling Florida “the biggest bright spot” for Republicans.

“It was not so bright in many other parts of the country,” DeSantis said. “It was a substandard performance, given the dynamics that are at play.”

The remarks came after DeSantis was asked about Trump’s recent criticism of him, which the Florida governor broadly dismissed as “noise.”

DeSantis was not asked about nor did he offer any commentary related to Trump’s decision to launch a third campaign for president.

DeSantis did not offer any insight Wednesday into his political future. Rather, he looked ahead to the upcoming legislative session in Florida when Republicans will have a supermajority in both chambers.

“What people like me, who have been given the opportunity to continue, is, OK, let’s do something with that,” he said. “And the reason why we won historic victory is, at the end of the day, we led, we delivered and we had your back when you needed us. That is why we won big.”

On Tuesday, DeSantis spoke to a group of Republican donors in Orlando, Florida, and touted his electoral strength in the suburbs, his rural turnout effort and his appeal among Latino voters in his victorious reelection effort.

According to a person who was in the room, DeSantis made the pitch in a conversational tone that reflected his good mood after his win last week.

The group of about 250, which included donors to the Republican Governors Association as well as governors and their spouses, gave DeSantis a standing ovation at the end of his conversation with outgoing Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts. The person in the room told CNN that DeSantis walked through in detail where he performed well across the state, including winning traditionally Democratic Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties.

When asked by Ricketts what he would like to work on with Republican governors, DeSantis said he was looking to take on the growth of so-called environmental, social and governance, or ESG, investment funds as well as improving border security, this person said.

A second person familiar with the governor’s remarks confirmed that DeSantis did not mention Trump at the Tuesday event, which took place before the former president announced his 2024 run.

This story has been updated with additional details.