Former presidential candidate Jeb Bush said that Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has the opportunity to run for president in 2024 in a bid to beat former president Donald Trump, who crushed Mr Bush in the 2016 Republican presidential primary.
Fox News’ Brian Kilmeade asked Mr Bush, himself a former Florida governor, whether 2024 offered his successor an opportunity to seek the White House.
“I think it is,” Mr Bush said. “He’s been a really effective governor. He’s young. I think we’re on the verge of a generational change in our politics. Kind of hope so.”
Mr DeSantis has long been seen as a potential challenger to Mr Trump, but has yet to announce whether he will run himself. The former president, a Florida transplant, announced his candidacy in November and so far, only former South Carolina governor Nikki Haley has announced her challenge to the former president.
Mr Bush, the son of former president George HW Bush and the brother of former president George W Bush, ran against Mr Trump in 2016 for the Republican nomination.
But despite having a massive campaign war chest and backing by many in the Republican establishment, Mr Bush faltered largely thanks to Mr Trump’s brutal mockery. Mr Trump labeled Mr Bush “low-energy.”
Mr Trump, who opened his 2016 campaign saying immigrants from Mexico were drug dealers and rapists, bashed Mr Bush for supporting immigration reform, at one point, retweeting someone who said Mr Bush only “liked Mexican illegals because of his wife.” Mr Bush’s wife, Columba, was born in Mexico but migrated to the United States legally.
After a poor showing in Iowa and New Hampshire, Mr Bush ended his campaign when he faltered in the South Carolina primary in 2016, which Mr Trump won.
Mr Bush took a subtle swipe at the former president.
“I think it’s for a more forward-leaning, future-oriented conversation in our politics as well,” he said. “And who better to do it than someone who has been outside of Washington, who’s governed effectively, who I think has shown that Florida can be a model for the future of our country.”
The battle between Mr DeSantis and Mr Trump would not be the first proxy war between the two. In 2022, Mr Bush’s son George P Bush challenged incumbent Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, whom Mr Trump endorsed. Mr Paxton would overwhelmingly beat Mr Bush in a runoff election.