With reports that his political benefactor President Donald Trump considers him disloyal because of their differences on Puerto Rico death tolls, Ron DeSantis insisted Wednesday that nothing has changed between the two.

“I don’t think anything has changed. I think we’re good,” the Republican nominee for Florida Governor said when asked for comment on reports Trump was upset with him.

DeSantis, in Ocoee Wednesday to discuss his education platform at a private Christian school, said he still expects Trump to campaign for him in Florida, though a POLITICO story Tuesday reported that insiders say the president was furious with the congressman, calling him disloyal for backing Trump’s claims that his political enemies are exaggerating Hurricane Maria death tolls.

Last week, DeSantis tweeted he saw no reason to dismiss estimates that nearly 3,000 people died in Puerto Rico in the aftermath of the massive hurricane one year ago Thursday, as well as during the long recovery for much of the year in which parts of the island was without power, clean running water and health care services.

When asked if he thought Trump would still campaign for him, DeSantis replied with one word:

“Sure.”

He did not elaborate. And he was not asked and did not clarify from what point nothing had changed.

Trump’s endorsement of DeSantis, and his campaign event with him in Tampa in July propelled the Ponte Vedra Beach congressman far ahead of his Republican primary rival, Adam Putnam, and the agriculture commissioner never recovered. Throughout the primary campaign, DeSantis made a strong case that he and Trump stood together, touting that relationship as a central part of his campaign advertising.

In recent weeks, however, DeSantis toned down (if not turned off) discussion of his connection with Trump. For example, he selected Jeanette Nunez, once a fervent #NeverTrump Republican, as his running mate. And at the Republican Party’s big fall campaign kickoff rally two weeks ago in Orlando DeSantis never mentioned Trump in his speech.

On Wednesday DeSantis also declined to say whether he recently spoke with Trump.

“That’s private,” he said.

About The Author

Scott Powers is an Orlando-based political journalist with 30+ years’ experience, mostly at newspapers such as the Orlando Sentinel and the Columbus Dispatch. He covers local, state and federal politics and space news across much of Central Florida. His career earned numerous journalism awards for stories ranging from the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster to presidential elections to misplaced nuclear waste. He and his wife Connie have three grown children. Besides them, he’s into mystery and suspense books and movies, rock, blues, basketball, baseball, writing unpublished novels, and being amused. Email him at scott@floridapolitics.com.

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