The audio clip was released to CNN on Wednesday by New York Times correspondent Maggie Haberman, the product of one of her interviews with Mr Trump. Haberman released the audio as part of a press tour for her book, Confidence Man, which published on Tuesday.
In the clip, Mr Trump is heard calmly describing to Haberman how he rescued Mr DeSantis’s gubernatorial came from the brink of defeat.
“He was at 3 per cent. [But] he was a great defender of mine in the Russia hoax, he was on television,” Mr Trump explained.
“He came to me, he said, ‘I’d love your endorsement,’” the former president is heard saying. “I said, ‘Ron, you’re at 3 per cent. You can’t win.’ He said, ‘If you endorse me, I can.’”
Mr Trump goes on to assert in the clip that Floridians did not “associate with him with the word ‘governor’”.
It’s his latest effort to take credit for the success of a successful GOP politician; the ex-president frequently enjoys touting the success of candidates he endorses, particularly in GOP primaries.
Mr DeSantis eventually won his general election campaign against Democrat Andrew Gillum by less than half a percentage point. Since then, however, his popularity has risen both in his state and nationally with Republicans in other regions who have declared their intentions to turn their respective states into the “Florida” of whatever region they are from.
As a result, Mr DeSantis is widely viewed as a credible 2024 Republican candidate, and therefore a threat to Donald Trump who clearly has his own plans for the next election cycle.
Most polls show Mr Trump handily leading Mr DeSantis in a hypothetical 2024 matchup — Mr Trump himself frequently reposts these polls on his Truth Social platform, suggesting that the rivalry remains at the top of his mind.