Major GOP donor reveals how Trump’s former rival can boost him over Biden

As he aims to close his fundraising gap with President Biden in their 2024 election rematch, former President Trump is likely to get an assist from his former top rival for the 2024 GOP nomination.

“I am very happy to have the full and enthusiastic support of Governor Ron DeSantis of Florida,” Trump proclaimed in a social media post Monday.

As a result of a meeting over the weekend between the two GOP leaders, expect to see top dollar Republican contributors from the formidable DeSantis donor network show up in the coming days at a major Trump world donor summit in Palm Beach, Florida.

Trump called his Sunday morning breakfast with DeSantis at a Hollywood, Florida, golf course “a great meeting” that aimed to thaw relations between the one-time bitter rivals on the presidential primary campaign trail.


DeSantis and Trump split

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (left) and former President Trump (Getty Images I AP)

“The conversation mostly concerned how we would work closely together to MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN,” Trump detailed.

The meeting appears to be the first time DeSantis and Trump have spoken, let alone met in person, since the governor ended his White House bid in January after a disappointing second-place finish in the Iowa caucuses that was far behind Trump.


The former president and his allies spent nearly a year repeatedly attacking DeSantis, who was viewed as the top threat to Trump in a presidential nomination field that last summer grew to over a dozen GOP White House contenders.

DeSantis endorsed Trump as he suspended his presidential campaign just two days ahead of the New Hampshire primary. But, to date, DeSantis hasn’t campaigned on Trump’s behalf.

DeSantis in New Hampshire

Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida at a campaign stop in Hampton, N.H., Jan. 17, 2024. DeSantis ended his presidential bid four days later. (Paul Steinhauser/Fox News)

During a February call with supporters, the governor took aim at Trump and his top political advisers.

“I think he’s got people in his inner circle who were part of our orbit years ago that we fired, and I think some of that is they just have an ax to grind,” DeSantis said at the time.

In response, top Trump campaign aide Chris LaCivita called DeSantis a “sad little man.”


While many on Trump’s team and his wider political orbit detest DeSantis, the former president may be more forgiving if it benefits him.

In his read-out of their meeting, Trump said “I greatly appreciate Ron’s support” and appeared to praise the two-term conservative governor’s performance steering the Sunshine State, noting that “also discussed was the future of Florida, which is FANTASTIC!”

Mike Rogers has Donald Trump's support as he runs for the Senate in Michigan

Former President Trump joins law enforcement officials at a campaign event in Grand Rapids, Mich., April 2, 2024 (Fox News – Paul Steinhauser)

While DeSantis was unsuccessful in dethroning Trump for the Republican nomination, he has been successful in assembling a wide network of wealthy donors who helped fund his convincing 2022 gubernatorial re-election and his 2024 White House bid.

DeSantis said at a recent donor retreat with his contributors that he would raise money for the entire Republican field, from Trump to school board races, sources confirmed to Fox News.


“He’s going to fulfill his pledge to help the party,” said Dan Eberhart, an oil drilling CEO and a prominent Republican donor and bundler who raised big bucks for Trump’s 2020 re-election campaign but who backed DeSantis in the 2024 nomination race.

Eberhart, who is back supporting Trump and attended a major fundraiser earlier this month for the former president, said DeSantis is “absolutely still a formidable machine. Who in the party has raised more money than DeSantis except for Trump?

“I absolutely think Gov. DeSantis can help put together some decent money for Trump, and Trump needs the money.”

According to sources in Trump’s political orbit, the meeting between the former president and the Florida governor was proposed by DeSantis and his allies a couple of weeks ago and was orchestrated by Steve Witkoff, a Florida real estate broker Trump referred to as a “mutual friend.

Those familiar with the meeting told Fox News that Trump and DeSantis met for a couple of hours at Witkoff’s Shell Bay golf club “and ended with Gov. DeSantis committing to do whatever would be helpful.”

While the meeting between Trump and DeSantis will likely pay short-term dividends for the former president as his general election showdown with Biden heats up, it may also benefit DeSantis down the road.

DeSantis enjoyed nationwide support among conservatives as the Florida governor highlighted his battles the past couple of years against what he called “woke” culture in politics, business and education. But his brand took a major hit after the onslaught from Trump, which resulted in the governor dropping his White House bid.

As DeSantis eyes his political future after his term-limited tenure as Florida governor comes to a close, which potentially may include another presidential run, sources in his political orbit say it would be difficult for him to succeed if he continued to have strained relations with Trump.

Get the latest updates from the 2024 campaign trail, exclusive interviews and more at our Fox News Digital election hub

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