Former President Donald Trump said he was the one who told Gov. Ron DeSantis not to attend his July Fourth weekend rally in Sarasota, Florida.
The pair had a conversation, during which both sides stressed they agreed the governor should stay in Surfside, where a condominium building partially collapsed over a week ago that left at least 24 dead and 121 missing.
"We mutually agreed. He is working very hard. He is doing a very good job. He should be there," Trump told Newsmax. "I told him: 'You should stay there, this is not that important for you.' He of all people should be there."
Sources told the Washington Examiner last week that Trump was holding the Saturday event despite pleas from DeSantis to postpone the campaign-style rally roughly 200 miles from the Miami suburb where the condo disaster happened.
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DeSantis's team denied that the Republican governor signaled to Trump he wanted the rally to be called off and later said they had a conversation.
“He spoke with President Trump, who agreed that this was the right decision, as the Governor’s duty is to be in Surfside making sure the families and community have what they need in the aftermath of the tragic building collapse. Gov. DeSantis would have gone to this event in normal circumstances," said Christina Pushaw, DeSantis's spokeswoman. "He is sure the rally will draw a big crowd on this holiday weekend, as many Floridians are excited to attend.”
Liz Harrington, a spokeswoman for Trump, said that Trump spearheaded the fundraising push for the relief effort.
"Like all Americans, President Trump sends his deepest condolences to those who've lost loved ones or been displaced by the terrible tragedy in Surfside. 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," Harrington said. "In fact, President Trump has instructed his team to collect relief aid for Surfside families both online and on-site at the Sarasota rally.”
DeSantis is widely seen as a top 2024 presidential contender. Trump, who is now a Florida resident, told Fox News host Sean Hannity last week, "Yes," when asked if he has made a decision about another White House run in 2024.