Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and United Kingdom Secretary of State for Business and Trade Kemi Badenoch signed a mutual economic agreement in Jacksonville Tuesday. Source: Screenshot/Florida Channel
Gov. Ron DeSantis made clear he has no intention of being another candidate’s running mate, spoke about his chances in Iowa, and seemed to call for the GOP primary to be narrowed down to its top three candidates during an event in Jacksonville Tuesday.
The Florida governor, in competition with former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley for second place in the primary, said the fact that only himself, Haley, and Donald Trump have been able to get a full slate of delegates for the Alabama primary shows they are the only genuine contenders for the nomination.
“If you’re going to do this, you got to be able to block and tackle and do those types of things,” DeSantis said. “I think it will continue to [narrow], perhaps even before Iowa.”
The GOP Iowa caucus is scheduled to take place Jan. 15.
DeSantis indicated that the large GOP field in 2016 — in which nine major candidates competed for Iowa — was bad for the party. Its outcome was the nomination and subsequent presidency of Donald Trump.
When asked about accepting a vice presidential nomination, the governor made clear his eyes were fixed on the West Wing.
“The only tickets in the future are with DeSantis at the top. I have no interest in being the No. 2,” DeSantis said.
The comment was perhaps an allusion to a recent poll that showed the governor’s wife, Casey DeSantis, leading the GOP primary for the 2026 Florida gubernatorial election.
DeSantis’ comments came after he signed an economic agreement with the United Kingdom, alongside U.K. Secretary of State for Business and Trade Kemi Badenoch. The memorandum of understanding is meant to facilitate greater investment between Britain and Florida — targeting financial technology, aerospace, and academia.
“We are the biggest foreign direct investor in Florida,” Badenoch said. “[The memorandum] will deepen economic cooperation and trade relations. It will help us identify barriers to trade so we can overcome them together.”
Florida is the seventh state the U.K. has reached such an economic agreement with. International trade and relations have been a recent priority of DeSantis as he’s sought to bolster his presidential resume. Shortly before his presidential announcement, the governor went on an international trip to Japan, South Korea, Israel, and the U.K. in May.
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