Newly Obtained Videos Reveal Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’ Thoughts on Dealing with Trump During First Campaign

Newly obtained videos from 2018 have revealed Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’ thoughts on dealing with former President Donald Trump during his first campaign for governor.[0] The videos show DeSantis in debate prep, contemplating how to present himself on various issues, while being advised on how to come off as likable and not condescending.[1] In one clip, DeSantis is asked by then-adviser Rep. Matt Gaetz if there is any issue he disagrees with Trump on, to which DeSantis responds, “Obviously there is, I mean, I voted contrary to him in Congress.[2] I have to frame it in a way that’s not going to piss off all his voters.” DeSantis added that he would raise any disagreement he may have with Trump in private, but he would “do what he thinks is right” and “support [Trump’s] agenda.”

The videos were obtained by ABC News and have caused controversy among DeSantis’ political team, with spokesman Dave Abrams stating that the footage proves “that Ron DeSantis is unwilling to be anyone but his authentic self — no matter the politics.” Gaetz also condemned the leak of the tapes in a tweet, calling it “disloyal hackery.”

The exchange caught on video shows how DeSantis strategized on how to embrace Trump and court his voters while also maintaining his own political identity.[3] As the Florida governor considers a possible 2024 run for the Republican presidential nomination against Trump, he is likely to encounter a significant challenge.[4] Although DeSantis has not announced his candidacy for the 2024 presidential election, Trump has been criticizing him for several months, fueling rumors that he may run.[1] Throughout the drama, DeSantis has mostly refrained from retaliating, but it appears that his ability to compete with Trump in the Republican primary is being affected.[1]

In a recent interview, a reporter in Tokyo asked DeSantis about Trump polling ahead of him.[5] DeSantis visibly tensed before responding, “I’m not a candidate, so we’ll see if and when that changes.” Though DeSantis has yet to announce his rumored 2024 presidential run, in the case that he does, Trump could come face-to-face with the Florida governor’s alleged “fiery temper.[6]

0. “Ron DeSantis’ Old Debate Prep Videos Leak, Reveal Views on Trump” Newsweek, 7 May. 2023,

1. “WATCH: Newly-Obtained Videos Show DeSantis Trying to Figure Out How to Deal With Trump in 2018” Mediaite, 7 May. 2023,

2. “DeSantis had to ‘figure out’ how to distance himself from Trump, 2018 debate prep footage reveals” Daily Mail, 7 May. 2023,

3. “Florida Republicans backing Trump denounce leak of DeSantis debate tapes: ‘Disloyal hackery'” Yahoo Life, 7 May. 2023,

4. “DeSantis grappled during 2018 debate prep with how not to ‘piss off’ Trump voters, recordings obtained by ABC News …” KEYT, 7 May. 2023,

5. “DeSantis grappled during 2018 debate prep with how not to ‘piss off’ Trump voters, recordings obtained by ABC News …” WICZ, 7 May. 2023,

6. “Donald Trump Warned to Prepare for Ron DeSantis’ ‘Fiery Temper'” OK!, 6 May. 2023,

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