Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, a Republican presidential contender, said Saturday that he would consider Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds as his running mate as he criticized former President Donald Trump’s recent complaints about her.
Asked whether he would consider Reynolds as a pick for vice president if he wins the GOP nomination, DeSantis said: "Of course."
"I mean, she’s one of the top public servants in America," he told reporters at a fundraising event in Ankeny, Iowa.
DeSantis also dismissed Trump’s criticism of Reynolds: “I thought the attacks on her were totally, totally out of hand and totally unnecessary."
Asked to comment on DeSantis’ remarks, Trump campaign spokesperson Steven Cheung said, “Ron DeSantis is totally out of hand.”
Trump, who leads DeSantis by a wide margin in national polling, last week expressed his frustration with Reynolds for declining to endorse a candidate early in the race for the GOP nomination. In a post on his Truth Social platform, he suggested Reynolds is supporting DeSantis despite her vow to uphold a norm among Iowa governors to remain neutral throughout the swing state’s closely watched presidential primary.
“I opened up the Governor position for Kim Reynolds, & when she fell behind I ENDORSED her, did big Rallies, & she won,” Trump wrote.
“Now, she wants to remain ‘NEUTRAL.’ I don’t invite her to events! DeSanctus down 45 points!” he added, referring to DeSantis, his chief rival for the party's nomination.
The New York Times, citing people close to Reynolds and DeSantis, reported July 8 that the two governors “forged a bond” at the height of the coronavirus pandemic and that one of Reynolds’ senior advisers, Ryan Koopmans, also advises the pro-DeSantis super PAC.
DeSantis also voiced his support for Reynolds on Twitter last week, calling her “a strong leader who knows how to ignore the chirping and get it done."
"She earned a landslide re-election because she delivered big results, and she is poised to deliver even more for Iowans in the special session," DeSantis added.
Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas beat Trump to win Iowa's GOP caucuses in 2016, but Trump went on to win the general election. Trump also won both the GOP caucuses and the presidential election in Iowa in 2020.
The Republican Party announced this month that it will hold its caucuses Jan. 15.