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DeSantis laughs off Iowa trip as prep for presidential bid

Associated Press/Wilfredo Lee
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) speaks as he announces a proposal for Digital Bill of Rights on Wednesday, February 15, 2023 at Palm Beach Atlantic University in West Palm Beach, Fla.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) on Sunday laughed off the idea that a trip to Iowa over the weekend was an indication that he was preparing to run for president, instead saying his travels were focused on promoting his new book.

When asked by “Sunday Morning Futures” host Maria Bartiromo if DeSantis’s trip was a “first indication” that he was running for president, DeSantis briefly paused, then let out a laugh.

“It’s the first indication that we have got a great book that people are buying,” DeSantis responded. “We had a lot of interest.”

The trip to Iowa by DeSantis on Friday comes as the governor is widely expected to launch a 2024 White House bid, teeing him up to be one of the main opponents of former President Trump. As his political profile has rapidly grown since his election as Florida governor in 2018, DeSantis has become a preferred GOP primary nominee for some conservatives looking for an alternative to Trump.

DeSantis has yet to launch a campaign or acknowledge his presidential aspirations and has mostly avoided addressing Trump, who also lives in Florida. Instead, DeSantis is promoting a new book that has quickly become a bestseller in the U.S. He also said the visit to Iowa was to also honor Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds (R), who DeSantis said has enacted similar policies as he has in her state.

“Governor Kim Reynolds is a friend of mine,” DeSantis said. “And I often tell people when they ask me in Florida, who else has done a good job, and I always say, you look what Iowa has done, they have done a lot of the things that Florida has done.”

The trip to Davenport and Des Moines was still largely seen as DeSantis introducing himself to Republicans in Iowa, which will hold its caucuses less than a year from now. Trump also plans to be in Iowa on Monday.

As Trump has come out strong in attacking DeSantis, seen as his main competitor, the Florida governor has receded to focusing on the state’s legislative session and promoting his book. On Fox News, DeSantis took a jab at what he sees as a “deficit of leadership” in the U.S.

“But we got a great response across two different cities,” DeSantis said. “And I think it’s just people look and they see, we have a deficit of leadership in this country.”

Tags 2024 presidential race Iowa Kim Reynolds Maria Bartiromo Republican primary Ron DeSantis Ron DeSantis

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