WATCH: Ron DeSantis squirms after being asked whether Trump is a good role model for kids

Political frenemies Ron DeSantis and Donald Trump are each vying to be the top Republican in Florida.

"For months, former President Donald J. Trump has been grumbling quietly to friends and visitors to his Palm Beach mansion about a rival Republican power center in another Florida mansion, some 400 miles to the north. Gov. Ron DeSantis, a man Mr. Trump believes he put on the map, has been acting far less like an acolyte and more like a future competitor, Mr. Trump complains," The New York Times reported Sunday.

The two appear to be on a collision course.

"At its core, the dispute amounts to a stand-in for the broader challenge confronting Republicans at the outset of midterm elections. They are led by a defeated former president who demands total fealty, brooks no criticism and is determined to sniff out, and then snuff out, any threat to his control of the party," the newspaper reported. "That includes the 43-year-old DeSantis, who has told friends he believes Mr. Trump’s expectation that he bend the knee is asking too much."

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DeSantis did bend the knee in 2018, going so far to describe Trump has a good role model during a debate with Democrat Andrew Gillum.

"Do you think President Trump is a good role model for the children of Florida?" the debate's moderator, CNN's Jake Tapper asked.

DeSantis discussed his family and talked about Trump moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem.

"And so, to me, when you give your word and you follow through on it as an elected official, that is the model that we're supposed to do," he said.

Gillum mocked DeSantis for dodging the question.

"No, he is not. Donald Trump is weak and he performs as all weak people do, they become bullies," Gillum warned DeSantis.

"And Mr. DeSantis is his acolyte, he's trying out to be the Trump apprentice," he said.

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