Governor Ron DeSantis and HarperCollins have agreed on a lucrative book deal, according to a Politico report. A source told Politico that the Florida Republican, who appears to be eyeing a White House run in 2024, had a handshake deal with Simon & Schuster before that was worth close to $2 million. But the source said that DeSantis ultimately decided against dealing with Simon & Schuster after realizing that the publishing house and CBS both fell under Paramount’s corporate umbrella. The governor’s ire toward Paramount and CBS News likely stems from a controversial piece aired last year by 60 Minutes, in which the newsmagazine suggested that the Florida government’s decision to partner with Publix for vaccine distribution was potentially connected to the supermarket chain donating $100,000 to DeSantis’s reelection campaign. (Publix, DeSantis, and a number of Florida officials all denied that any quid pro quo took place, with the governor’s office saying at the time that the partnership was based on Publix being “ready to administer the vaccine in their pharmacies in a matter of days, whereas other pharmacies were not ready.”)
DeSantis’s decision to work with HarperCollins is also notable due to the publisher being owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp, putting him closer to the media mogul’s orbit. A source in the conservative-publishing industry told Politico that he was “really surprised that [DeSantis’s] team has not talked to all the major publishers, especially conservative ones. I would have aggressively made a play for that.” (When contacted by Politico, neither DeSantis nor HarperCollins would comment, while Simon & Schuster did not respond to the outlet’s inquiry.) A release date is not yet known, but it is common for a presidential hopeful to publish a book shortly before or after launching their campaign. The last time DeSantis authored a book was in 2011, when he released Dreams From Our Founding Fathers: First Principles in the Age of Obama ahead of his first congressional run.
As of this week, DeSantis remains the 2024 favorite for Republicans who are opposed to Donald Trump running for reelection, per a CNN poll conducted by SSRS. The poll found that 21% of the Republicans and Republican-leaning respondents chose DeSantis as their preferred non-Trump candidate, while others in the field of probable hopefuls, such as Ted Cruz and Mike Pence, did not crack more than 1%. DeSantis’s status as the clear-cut number one primary threat to Trump has caused a schism between the two former allies. Trump seemingly took a personal shot at DeSantis last month by telling One America News that politicians who will not say if they have gotten a COVID-19 booster shot are “gutless,” an apparent reference to DeSantis choosing to punt when asked if received a booster. However, a January report from Axios cited an unnamed source who said that Trump does not view DeSantis as a legitimate challenger, as the former president has privately said that the “dull” DeSantis has “no personal charisma.” In an interview with Sean Hannity late last month, though, Trump insisted that he has “a very good relationship with Ron and intend to have it for a long time.”
On Thursday, one of the Trump sons attempted to quash rumors of the beef, claiming that there is “no friction” between his father and DeSantis. “I remember campaigning actively for DeSantis back in the day, and frankly I’ve always remembered how thankful he was,” Eric Trump told Candace Owens. “Without Donald Trump—I think [DeSantis] would be the first one to say this, I’m not saying anything that’s controversial—but my father pushed very, very hard for him and my father believed in him, and he just barely got over [the line].”
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