DeSantis wouldn't comment on Trump when asked about him during a press conference in Key Biscayne.
When reminded Trump was a Florida resident, DeSantis shot back: "I also got 22 million others."
Trump announced he's running in '24 and criticized DeSantis for leaving the question open ended.
KEY BISCAYNE, Florida — Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida brushed off a question Thursday about Donald Trump's ubiquity in the news, saying the former president was just one of many Sunshine State residents.
DeSantis was holding a press conference about environmental protection grants, during which a reporter asked for his take on Trump being in the news every day, adding, "He is your resident, by the way."
"I also got 22 million others," DeSantis shot back, "and we like to look out for everybody and say we're focusing on getting things done, doing our job, and that's a great thing to do."
Trump has been living in Palm Beach, Florida, at Mar-a-Lago, his home and private club, since leaving the White House. The former president also stays at his Bedminster, New Jersey, golf course during the summer, but his permanent residence is in Florida, and it's the state in which he votes.
While DeSantis has avoided criticizing Trump for months, the former president has been clear that he's irked at DeSantis for skirting questions about whether he'll run for president.
The criticism starting even before Election Day, when Trump nicknamed DeSantis "Ron DeSanctimonious," and said DeSantis should show more gratefulness after Trump supported DeSantis for governor in 2018, rocketing him to the GOP nomination.
On Election Night, DeSantis won a historic, nearly 20-point victory in Florida, which further fanned speculation that he might be able to be successful in a 2024 White House run. Should he run, he'd face off against Trump, the only Republican who has made his candidacy official so far, and likely several other entrants.
DeSantis hasn't pledged to serve out all four years as governor of Florida. The governor also hasn't commented publicly about Trump's controversial dinner with Ye, the rapper formerly known as Kanye West, and with Nick Fuentes, a known white supremacist.
Reporters haven't asked DeSantis about the dinner in the two press conferences he held in Florida this week, but other prominent Republicans, including potential 2024 rivals, have condemned the meeting.
While DeSantis on Thursday eschewed commenting on Trump, he did address the second part of the reporter's question, which asked him to respond to division in the Republican Party, given that DeSantis enjoyed strong support in Florida in contrast to other parts of the US.
DeSantis shared that he thought the results were unexpected given past historical trends that favor the opposing party, as well as pessimism about the direction of the country and President Joe Biden's low approval ratings.
DeSantis said that after he delivered his victory speech he went behind stage and his team told him that Election Night had not seen a "red wave" — meaning voters had not overwhelmingly supported Republicans.
"I said, 'What are you talking about? This is not a red wave? This is a 20-point win,'" DeSantis recounted.
"No," his team said, according to DeSantis, "Florida is a big win but the rest of the country we are not seeing good performance from a lot of these Republicans."
Democrats ultimately held onto the Senate — with a runoff in Georgia set for next week to determine the final count — and lost far fewer seats than expected in the US House.
DeSantis said more people would be attracted to Republicans through "producing results."
"I don't think it's a question of being divided as a party," he said. "I think it's a question of: How do you run and win majorities? I think what we have done in Florida is we have shown that we have exercised leadership, we have not kowtowed, we have been willing to take on big interests."
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