OPINION: This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion
We may have a new frontrunner for the Republican presidential nomination in 2024, if Donald Trump decides not to launch a campaign.
That man is popular Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis who was spotted golfing this weekend with trump, whose endorsement would likely help him tremendously if he wants to become President of the United States, The Daily Mail reported.
Former President Donald Trump was spotted golfing with Gov. Ron DeSantis on Sunday after the Florida governor’s name has been mentioned as a top Republican hopeful for the 2024 presidential race as he continued to hit out against a controversy over COVID-19 vaccines.
Trump was pictured having conversations with DeSantis during their outing at the Trump International Golf Club in West Palm Beach.
The photos of the two men together underlined De Santis’s closeness with Trump as the former president has remained mum on whether he’ll run in 2024 even as Republicans are jockeying for position to take his place atop the party should he decide against another bid.
De Santis has been among the loudest opponent of strict lockdowns and has pressed for Florida and its municipalities to be wide open – a stance that was criticized throughout the pandemic, but one that has gotten a new appraisal in more recent times when Florida’s virus numbers stood up well against states that locked down more severely, like California.
He’s also seemed to skirt controversy over a vaccine-distribution program that had come under a microscope for alleged favoritism in a 60 Minutes report last week.
Trump and DeSantis were out playing golf together today. I wonder what they were talking about? pic.twitter.com/xo889dIldH
— Alice (@themodalice) April 12, 2021
The Florida governor has become a favorite among many Republicans by fighting back against the draconian restrictions Democrats want imposed on everyone because of coronavirus.
And that fight for liberty and freedom made him the subject of a hit piece by the CBS program “60 Minutes” last week.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, a Republican, clashed with a CBS “60 Minutes” reporter in a segment that aired on Sunday but the governor, and now Democrat Palm Beach County Mayor David Kerner, called the program on its shoddy reporting after the mainstream media parroted the talking points, Fox News reported.
“Publix, as you know, donated $100,000 to your campaign and then you rewarded them with the exclusive rights to distribute the vaccine in Palm Beach,” reporter Sharyn Alfonsi said.
“So first of all what you’re saying is wrong,” DeSantis said. “That’s a fake narrative. … I met with the county mayor. I met with the administrator. I met with all the folks in Palm Beach County and I said, ‘Here are some of the options. We can do more drive-thru sites. We can give more to hospitals. We can do the Publix.’ And they said, ‘We think that would be the easiest thing for our residents.'”
The reporter pressed DeSantis on the question, calling it a “pay for play” scheme.
“It’s wrong, it’s a fake narrative,” the governor said. “I just disabused you of the narrative and you don’t care about the facts because obviously I just laid it out for you in a way that is irrefutable. So clearly it’s not.”
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And on Monday Kerner issues a press release that took “60 Minutes” to task.
“I watched the 60 Minutes segment on Palm Beach County last night and feel compelled to issue this statement. The reporting was not just based on bad information – it was intentionally false. I know this because I offered to provide my insight into Palm Beach County’s vaccination efforts and 60 Minutes declined. They know that the Governor came to Palm Beach County and met with me and the County Administrator and we asked to expand the state’s partnership with Publix to Palm Beach County. We also discussed our own local plans to expand mass vaccination centers throughout the county, of which the Governor has been incredibly supportive. We asked and he delivered. They had that information, and they left it out because it kneecaps their narrative,” the Democrat mayor said.
“We have confronted this pandemic for over a year. Our residents, like all Americans, are tired. And the media is making it worse. They are hellbent on dividing us for cheap views and clicks. 60 Minutes should be ashamed. I thank the Governor for supporting the residents of Palm Beach County.
“Because of his efforts, working in coordination with Palm Beach County officials, over 275,000 seniors in our county-which is over 75% of the total senior population- have been vaccinated. I am proud of how our county and state leadership have executed this important mission, and the results speak for themselves,” he said.