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Trump campaign warns potential DeSantis staffers they won't be hired to work for former president

DeSantis’ allies have said he doesn’t plan to make an announcement about a possible candidacy until at least June.
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Former President Donald Trump's 2024 campaign has decided that anyone who works for Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, including on a potential presidential bid, will be ineligible to join the Trump campaign or another Trump White House.

Trump aide Justin Caporale confirmed the decision, which is a warning shot to political operatives mulling their next moves. The development, first reported by RealClearPolitics, comes as Trump holds onto a substantial polling lead and the DeSantis operation begins to materialize.

Caporale worked for DeSantis’ 2018 gubernatorial campaign and briefly in the governor’s administration as director of external affairs. He’s now, however, back in Trump world. Other members of Trump’s inner orbit have also previously worked for DeSantis, including top aide Susie Wiles.

While DeSantis hasn't announced a presidential bid, he has repeatedly hinted at one. His allies have said he doesn’t plan to make an announcement about a possible candidacy until at least June, after Florida’s legislative session is over. DeSantis remains well below Trump in polls measuring the prospective GOP primary field.

The warning from Trump’s camp about future hiring could affect people like Matt Wolking, a former Trump campaign staffer who announced Monday afternoon that he is joining a DeSantis-aligned super PAC.

“Trump was the president we needed 8 years ago, but to make America great again, our movement needs a disciplined leader who wins instead of loses, never backs down, fights smart, and puts the mission before himself. On each count, Governor Ron DeSantis is the strongest choice,” Wolking tweeted, adding that DeSantis is “bold, effective, and knows how to finish the job, so with him as president we will finally be able to win so much that we’ll be tired of all the winning.”

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and former President Donald Trump.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and former President Donald Trump.Getty Images; AP

Trump held the first major rally of his campaign Saturday in Waco, Texas, speaking to thousands of his supporters on the tarmac of a regional airport.

The former president attacked DeSantis during the event, mocking him for not yet announcing a run and denouncing his policies, including his handling of the Covid pandemic and previous positions supporting cuts to Medicare and Social Security.

“Florida has been tremendously successful for many years, long before this guy became governor,” Trump said. “Florida has been successful for decades.”

After the rally, Trump told reporters of DeSantis: “He’s got no personality. That tends to be bad for a politician.”

Trump added that if he hadn’t helped DeSantis' gubernatorial campaign, the Florida governor would be “probably working at a cigar store or a law firm.”