“On the Holmes Front,” with Frank Holmes
President Donald Trump has made little secret of the fact that he plans to run for re-election in 2024—but he’s just taken the next step toward making it official. He’s talking openly about who he’d choose as his vice president—and he’s sending shockwaves through the political world.
During a recent interview with Newsmax, Trump was asked point blank: “Could you envision a world, sir, where there is a Trump/DeSantis ticket in 2024?”
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To many people’s surprise, Trump didn’t shoot down the possibility of running with the Florida governor, who many believe will be a rival in the upcoming Republican primaries.
“Well, I get along with him,” Trump replied to reporter Rob Finnerty. “I was very responsible for his success, because I endorsed him and he went up like a rocket ship.”
DeSantis beat far-Left Democrat Andrew Gillum by less than one percent of the vote in 2018.
Some grassroots conservatives are already calling the Trump-DeSantis pairing a “dream ticket” that could realign the GOP for a generation.
“I want Trump to run with DeSantis as VP,” one Twitter user told her 20,000 followers. “4 years of Trump then 8 years of Desantis who’s with me!!?”
It’s little surprise that Trump is looking for another vice president. We reported in March that relations between Trump and former Vice President Mike Pence—who’s testing the presidential waters himself—had grown so tense that Trump was unlikely to pick him for a second presidential run in 2024. The top candidates rumored to be on the short list at the time included South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem and Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina.
DeSantis has been close to Trump over the years, with the two seen smiling and at ease during a recent wedding at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago property in the Sunshine State.
But insiders say the relationship has cooled between the two, with DeSantis moving out of Trump’s shadow and establishing a power base of his own.
DeSantis has been so successful that he’s now Trump’s top rival for the 2024 presidential nomination—and Trump knows it. A few times, DeSantis has gotten the better of the 45th president.
At the Western Conservative Summit just last month, the two landed within whistling distance of one another. DeSantis scored 74 percent support among the attendees, compared to Trump’s 71 percent.
When a reporter asked on Monday if the two will face each other on a primary debate stage, Trump punted—but sounded confident as ever about taking on DeSantis in a one-on-one matchup.
“I don’t know if Ron is running, and I don’t ask him,” Trump answered. “It’s his prerogative.”
He quickly added, “I think I would win.”
Trump knows he likely faces several challengers for the Republican presidential nomination, including Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas, Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri, former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley (who’s supported by Trump’s in-laws, the Kushners. Trump may even face a Republican primary challenge Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, who is currently a Democrat.
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None of those possibilities gave Trump much worry.
But DeSantis has bested Trump in a handful of other events among conservative movers-and-shakers… and his status continues to grow.
Granted, Trump still tops most polls of the party overall. The latest Zogby poll, taken in June, shows Trump’s poll numbers nearly five times higher than DeSantis’: 53 percent of Republicans back Trump vs. 11 percent for DeSantis. Nobody else even comes close.
Republican officials say DeSantis still shakes up Trump, with one consultant telling The New Yorker, “Trump World is working overtime to find ways to burn DeSantis down. They really hate him.”
Trump’s friendly remarks don’t sound like hate—but a Trump-DeSantis ticket faces a big problem: The Constitution.
It’s widely believed a president and his running mate can’t be from the same state. That’s not exactly right—but there are big problems, which could scuttle the dream ticket.
Technically, the Constitution says that members of the Electoral College “shall meet in their respective states,” and at least one of the two people he selected for president or vice president “shall not be an inhabitant of the same state with themselves.”
Historians say that means, if you have two candidates from the same state, that state can’t cast its electoral ballots for the ticket. In other words, Trump could tap DeSantis, but if they win, Florida could not legally give its 29 electoral votes to the ticket, since Florida’s electors, Trump, and DeSantis are all Floridians.
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It’s hard to imagine Trump giving up Florida’s large (and growing) share of the Electoral College vote, especially given how close the 2020 election was.
Trump has legally resided in Florida for years—although he maintains multiple residences and could change his voter registration to either Trump Tower in the Big Apple or one of his other properties.
But that assumes he really wants DeSantis as his running mate. Could it be Trump is dangling the vice presidency in front of DeSantis to convince him not to run in the primaries? That would be 3D chess.
Maybe Trump simply didn’t want to take a swipe at an old friend in public.
Then again, maybe Trump really is considering a powerhouse ticket with the GOP’s two most popular personalities.
The question is: Will DeSantis play along, or will he choose to play hardball?
Frank Holmes is a veteran journalist and an outspoken conservative that talks about the news that was in his weekly article, “On The Holmes Front.”