Top White House official: DeSantis ‘is a divider’

Crystal Vander Weit/ via AP, Pool
Florida’s Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis is picture during a debate against Democratic opponent Charlie Crist, at Sunrise Theatre in Fort Pierce, Fla., on Oct. 24, 2022.

Senior White House official Anita Dunn on Wednesday called Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) a divisive figure when asked to contrast President Biden with his potential 2024 rival.

“He is a divider. He looks for places to go, divide the people of Florida, to try to line up one side against the other,” Dunn said at an event hosted by Axios. “That’s just very different from the way Joe Biden sees the world, and certainly very different from the way Joe Biden defines the role of president of the United States.”

Dunn, one of Biden’s longest-serving aides, argued that Biden believes in trying to unite the country, saying he ran for office in 2020 to “heal the soul of the nation,” unify the nation and rebuild the middle class.

The Biden White House has had an adversarial relationship with DeSantis for months, with the two sides clashing over the governor outlawing mask mandates in schools, passing legislation to restrict discussion of sexual orientation in the classroom and sending migrants to Democratic areas via private planes.

Biden, at a fundraiser on Tuesday for DeSantis opponent Charlie Crist (D), called the Florida governor “Donald Trump incarnate.”

DeSantis is expected to win reelection next week, with multiple recent polls showing him with a comfortable lead over Crist, a former governor and congressman. A big showing on Tuesday could be a springboard for DeSantis to run for president in 2024.

DeSantis is widely seen as a potential Republican presidential candidate for 2024, and he could pose a formidable challenge to former President Trump in a primary. DeSantis consistently polls as a top alternative to Trump among GOP voters, and some strategists believe he could attract Trump’s supporters in a primary without carrying the baggage of multiple investigations the former president is facing.

Tags Anita Dunn Donald Trump Joe Biden Ron DeSantis
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