Manchester, N.H.– Rep. Matt Gatez (R-Fla.) said on Sunday that he would “welcome” Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R ) back into the Trump campaign fold if the governor dropped out of the presidential primary.
“I remember the good old days when I was Ron DeSantis’s transition chairman and he and President Trump worked so well together,” Gatez, a top surrogate to former President Trump, told a crowd of Trump supporters at the campaign’s headquarters in Manchester.
“I hate when mom and dad fight,” he continued, receiving laughs from the crowd. “It turns out we might get Ron DeSantis back on side pretty soon and I would welcome that,” he said to applause.
Gaetz’s comments come after DeSantis canceled his scheduled appearances on NBC’s “Meet the Press” and CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday. The governor’s presidential campaign said the decision to cancel the interviews was the result of a “scheduling issue” and that they would be rescheduled. DeSantis’s campaign also said that the governor has public events scheduled Sunday evening through Tuesday in New Hampshire ahead of the state’s primary.
However, the scheduling claim did not stop Gatez and the Trump campaign from questioning the future of the governor’s primary bid.
“I guess I would ask what are his plans then?” Gatez told reporters at the same event. “If his plans aren’t to drop out, and he doesn’t have any advertisements running and he won’t achieve earned media by turning down two Sunday shows, a reasonable person might ask what is the DeSantis plan or path?”
“Think about the stages of grief—we’ve had denial with the DeSantis campaign. We’ve had a good amount of anger, this last week on television you saw the bargaining,” he continued. “After that, we ultimately get to acceptance.”
Jason Miller, a senior adviser to Trump, further dug into DeSantis’s move to cancel the television appearances.
“You don’t do that if you’re coming from a position of strength,” Miller said.
After coming in a distant second to Trump in Iowa, polls show DeSantis trailing Trump and former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley in New Hampshire and South Carolina. The Hill’s Decision Desk HQ average shows DeSantis coming in third place in New Hampshire with 7.2 percent and in South Carolina with 8.3 percent.