Ron DeSantis’ Old Debate Prep Videos Leak, Reveal Views on Trump

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’ old debate prep videos from 2018 have leaked and reveal his thoughts on dealing with former President Donald Trump.

ABC News obtained the footage of the gubernatorial mock debate prep featuring Florida Congressman Matt Gaetz. In the clip, Gaetz asked then-Congressman DeSantis, “Is there any issue upon which you disagree with President Trump?”

DeSantis can be seen and heard letting out a heavy sigh immediately after then saying, “Obviously there is because I mean I voted contrary to him…I have to frame it in a way that’s not going to piss off all his voters.”

DeSantis is widely believed to be weighing a possible 2024 presidential bid, with polling indicating he is the second most popular choice with Republican voters, after Trump. Trump supporters and DeSantis supporters have been at odds since the former president announced his 2024 campaign and began attacking DeSantis amid speculation that the governor was planning to run against him in the Republican primaries.

Newsweek has reached out to DeSantis’s press office via email for comment.

In response to ABC’s video, Gaetz took to Twitter saying, “I ran the Desantis Debate Prep in 2018. Though I prefer Trump for President (bigly), the release of these videos by the person operating the camera is disloyal hackery that I do not abide.”

“Staffers who leak on the candidates they’ve done work for deserve the reputations they get,” Gaetz concluded.

Gaetz has been a recent critic of DeSantis, as the Florida congressman is unwavering in his support for Trump. Gaetz called out DeSantis late last month for not speaking out against the then-growing rumors of a Trump indictment in Manhattan, calling it a “missed opportunity.”

Meanwhile, the leaked video shows DeSantis further respond to Gaetz, saying that he would answer a question about Trump by saying he would “do what I think is right,” and “support [Trump’s] agenda.” DeSantis continued, “If I have a disagreement, I talk to him in private.”

In response to the leaked video, Florida Congressman Byron Daniels, a Republican, said on Twitter on Sunday, “I was on the DeSantis Debate prep team. These tapes should not have been leaked. It’s low class.” Daniels has also endorsed Trump for president in the 2024 race.

Political analyst Craig Agranoff told Newsweek on Sunday, “It’s unclear how it will affect [DeSantis’s] chances in 2024. Some voters may be turned off by his comments. They may see them as insensitive and out of touch. Other voters may be more forgiving. They may see DeSantis’s comments as a joke or a slip of the tongue.”

Newsweek has reached out to Trump’s campaign team via email for comment.

Above, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis speaks to guests at the Republican Party of Marathon County Lincoln Day Dinner annual fundraiser on May 6 in Rothschild, Wisconsin. Although he has not yet announced his candidacy, DeSantis is expected to be among the top contenders vying for the Republican presidential nomination next year. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

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