Trump and DeSantis Meet in Florida for First Time Since Bruising Primary

Donald J. Trump and Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida met on Sunday morning, according to three people briefed on the meeting, the first time they’ve done so since the end of a bruising Republican presidential primary that Mr. Trump won while relentlessly attacking Mr. DeSantis.

The meeting — which took place in Hollywood, Fla., according to one of the people briefed on the meeting — was the result of a weekslong effort by a longtime friend of Mr. Trump, the real-estate investor Steve Witkoff, who also has a relationship with Mr. DeSantis. The three men met alone in a private room at Shell Bay, Mr. Witkoff’s development and golf club, according to the person briefed on the meeting.

Mr. Trump is looking to bolster his fund-raising, an ability Mr. DeSantis demonstrated during the primary by tapping into a network of well-funded donors. And Mr. DeSantis — who has made clear he is interested in running for president again in 2028 — is seeking to shed the negative weight of his disappointing campaign. The meeting was reported earlier by The Washington Post.

A spokesman for Mr. Trump didn’t respond to an email seeking comment. A spokesman for Mr. DeSantis declined to comment.

Mr. DeSantis is not seen as a contender to join a Republican ticket with Mr. Trump, who is both the presumptive Republican nominee and on trial in Manhattan on charges he falsified business records to conceal hush-money payments to a porn star in the 2016 election. Both Mr. Trump and Mr. DeSantis have made clear that such a pairing doesn’t interest either of them, and they also live in the same state, which would make it an unconstitutional pairing unless one of them were to move out of Florida, which is unlikely to happen, especially since Mr. DeSantis is currently the governor.

Mr. DeSantis had been seen as Mr. Trump’s chief intraparty competition, and he was the target the Trump team focused on for months. The tensions between the two men — and their aides — often boiled over during the primary race. Mr. Trump excoriated Mr. DeSantis during the campaign, nicknaming him “Ron DeSanctimonious,” and criticizing him as being disloyal. Mr. DeSantis also claimed that Mr. Trump was unelectable at various points during his primary campaign, which was plagued by missteps and accusations of mismanagement.

Recently, Mr. DeSantis held a donor event the same weekend that Mr. Trump held a large fund-raiser for his campaign. During the fund-raiser, Mr. Trump revived the “DeSanctimonious” nickname, according to an attendee.

Still, allies of both men say it is politically beneficial for them to come together for the 2024 campaign and beyond.

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