Ron DeSantis tells donors he's in the 2024 race and 'people aren’t going to change their view of' Trump
Ron DeSantis (Photo by Giorgio Viera / AFP)

In a phone call with donors for his Super PAC, Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) revealed he's in the race, The New York Times reported.

“You have basically three people at this point that are credible in this whole thing. Biden, Trump and me, and I think of those three, two have a chance to get elected president — Biden and me, based on all the data in the swing states, which is not great for the former president and probably insurmountable because people aren’t going to change their view of him," said DeSantis.

It's the first time he officially described himself as "in this whole thing."

While DeSantis has spent the last few weeks traveling around early primary states, he's largely dodged saying Donald Trump's name and refusing to attack him directly. The one thing he's suggested is that Trump is a loser, by targeting what he calls the "culture of losing."

This week he's taken greater steps forward, using local elections to highlight the "loser" candidates Trump backed. It garnered responses from Trump on his personal social media account, calling DeSantis the real loser because his endorsed candidates did better than DeSantis'.

As a Times reporter listened in on the call, DeSantis claimed that while traveling to the early primary states, he found many people believed in Trump's policies but not his values. He argued that in the two years under President Joe Biden, all four years of Trump have been erased.

“You know, Trump was somebody, we liked his policies but we didn’t like his values. And with you, we like your policies but also know that you share our values," DeSantis claimed an Iowa voter told him.

DeSantis went on to take what it called "an unmistakeable jab" at Trump, claiming, “There are some that kind of raise money just for themselves."

The report explained that despite being behind by 30 points, DeSantis would likely start out with more money due to the super PAC cash he's been raising. There are a lot of similarities with another Florida Republican candidate for president: Jeb Bush, who began with tons of money and support but was quickly shredded by Trump.

The call comes on a difficult day for DeSantis, however. The lawmaker lost a suit in federal court that he could take a campaign email list from a pro-DeSantis super PAC. The court agreed that the value of the list was more than $5,000, which is the threshold for DeSantis to formally declare his candidacy.

Later on Thursday, news broke that Disney was pulling a $1 billion investment into Florida that would have created 2,000 new jobs for the company. The report said that the decision was directly tied to the governor's bullying of the company over it being pro-equality. Equality and equal rights are described by DeSantis as "woke," and used as a pejorative.