DeSantis expected to speak at GOP convention

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) will speak during next week’s Republican National Convention, a source familiar with the plans confirmed, after initial uncertainty whether he would be given a slot.

The source did not say which day DeSantis would give remarks. The convention will run next Monday through Thursday. A lineup of speakers is expected to be released in the coming days.

NBC News first reported that DeSantis would speak at the convention, and the outlet cited a source close to the governor who said they had never been told he would not be speaking at the event in Milwaukee.

“We have been told for a while we had a speaking slot and have never been told we do not,” the source told NBC.

Former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, who won the most delegates other than former President Trump during the GOP primary, will not be in attendance for the convention but has urged her delegates to back the former president.

DeSantis was largely viewed as Trump’s top rival heading into the 2024 primary, but the Florida governor struggled to gain traction with voters and suspended his campaign after finishing in second place in Iowa.

Trump and DeSantis were bitter rivals during the primary; the former president repeatedly attacked the Florida governor on his personality and policy until DeSantis suspended his campaign after the Iowa caucuses.

Trump often referred to the governor as “DeSanctimonious” and complained that DeSantis had not been adequately appreciative of his endorsement during the 2018 Florida gubernatorial race. On policy, Trump accused DeSantis of copying his ideas.

DeSantis had avoided directly attacking Trump in the early months of his presidential bid, but by the end of his campaign the Florida governor was telling supporters Trump had “lost the zip on his fastball” and was not the same candidate who united the party in 2016 and 2020.

While DeSantis endorsed Trump upon suspending his campaign in January, the sniping did not stop. After DeSantis reportedly aired grievances about Trump on a call with supporters, top Trump aide Chris LaCivita responded that DeSantis was a “sad little man.”

The two men met in person in April. While Trump likely does not need DeSantis’s help to win the state of Florida in November, the governor has a strong base of donors and supporters who could help the former president as he takes on President Biden, and DeSantis may have his eye on 2028.

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