Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis says he won’t be seeking the presidency in 2020 because he has too much to do as the state’s chief executive to spend his time campaigning.
The Florida Republican issued a video statement Wednesday in which he said, “I love my job and I want to keep doing it as long as I can keep doing it at a high level.” He added that he’s not running because “I’m focused on defeating the [Democratic] Party.”
DeSantis took a broad swipe at supporters of President Trump during the video message, but did not single out anyone. He made no mention of Trump, his adviser Steve Bannon or Republican senators Ted Cruz or Marco Rubio.
“If you are really a Republican, I want you to know that I am not on a quick path to the presidency and, frankly, I’d rather be here in Florida trying to make sure that people are not supporting critical race theory and not have people lose their jobs and communities destroyed over nonsense that they are not even hearing anywhere else,” DeSantis said.
One of the few Republicans to criticize Trump, DeSantis said he is engaged in a “raging crusade against media and political groups that do not live by the rules we set out for ourselves.”
“Everything I have done in my life in politics was first drawn from my own life,” he said. “For me, it’s not some political chess game. I don’t even have on the side of my game a chess set. I have on the side of my game big issues.”
Two years ago, DeSantis, a political outsider, defeated incumbent Gov. Rick Scott in the Republican primary. The victory put DeSantis into a two-way race with Democratic incumbent Democratic Gov. Rick Scott.
DeSantis lost the race, but he said Trump called him to say he didn’t lose the election because of him, but because of the “liberal media” and people that wanted to elect another Democrat.
“He told me that I inspired people and that I would have more years in the private sector, and that was really really nice to hear and I appreciated that,” DeSantis said.
DeSantis’ video message is a stark contrast to the recent endorsement of Trump by Rubio, whom he’s considered an early frontrunner in the 2020 GOP presidential primary. Rubio has been a vocal critic of Trump.
DeSantis noted in his video statement that he would be the first person to tackle both the challenges and opportunities of President Trump’s administration.