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LONDON — Nigel Farage’s new right-wing party Reform UK is making overtures to Donald Trump’s potential presidential rival Ron DeSantis as the Florida governor flies into Britain for high-level talks.
DeSantis, who is predicted to announce his bid for the 2024 Republican presidential candidacy in the approaching weeks, will maintain conferences with senior British ministers in London on Friday as part of a four-country “trade mission” to promote Florida on the world stage.
But additionally chasing a meet-up will likely be key allies of Farage, who’s honorary president of Reform UK and who first met DeSantis finally yr’s Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Florida.
The pair have spoken about U.S. and European politics, regardless of Farage’s earlier long-standing alliance with DeSantis’ arch-rival Donald Trump, who stays the frontrunner for the 2024 Republican nomination.
Reform UK chief Richard Tice confirmed to POLITICO he was “working on” cultivating hyperlinks with the Florida governor, who has grow to be a well-liked determine amongst some British conservatives as a seemingly much less chaotic right-wing various to Trump.
“He’s shown himself to be a courageous, bold leader and that’s very interesting. For me, I think he is actually the one that the Democrats fear,” Tice stated.
“DeSantis doesn’t muck about — he just gets stuff done and tells it as it is, which is very contrary to what the Washington elite want him to say.”
‘Big supporter of Brexit’
DeSantis will meet with British Foreign Secretary James Cleverly and Business and Trade Secretary Kemi Badenoch for talks in London on Friday.
The 44-year-old is presently operating second to Trump in polling amongst Republican major voters, who will make their determination on a presidential candidate early subsequent yr.
DeSantis attracted reward from high-profile Republicans for profitable a landslide re-election victory final yr in what’s historically a swing state, with many speaking him up as the longer term — or DeFuture as Rupert Murdoch’s New York Post wrote — of the Republican Party.
Trump has already begun a vicious marketing campaign to discredit the controversial governor — who has stirred anger amongst America’s liberals for his “anti-woke” and anti-COVID lockdown insurance policies — by calling him “Ron DeSanctimonious” and accusing him of being part of a “globalist” elite.
The governor stated in an interview with The Times final month that he was a “big supporter of Brexit,” however that Britain’s ruling Conservative Party “hasn’t been as aggressive at fulfilling that vision as they should have been.”
Farage in flip showered reward on the governor through his GB News present, saying “it seems to me that Ron DeSantis very much has his finger on the pulse of U.K. politics.”
An ally of Farage informed POLITICO that the Brexiteer extremely charges DeSantis, however that he “could damage himself in a brutal fight against Trump.”
“Nigel thinks that he will be American president at some point and that he’s done a great job in Florida,” the ally stated. Farage himself declined to remark for this text.
British TV presenter Piers Morgan, one other former friend of Trump, interviewed DeSantis for TalkTV final month. He too has been fast to speak up the governor as the very best candidate for the Republicans, regardless of his previous alliance with Trump.
Morgan told a Fox News programme that the Republican Party has a “straightforward choice.” He stated: “Do you want more drama and chaos and baggage, or do you want someone who is fresh, young, nearly half Trump’s age, who doesn’t have the baggage and believes in doing government a different way?”
A London-based lobbyist with ties to the DeSantis camp stated many British political figures will likely be attempting to cozy up to the Florida governor in the lead up to his possible presidential run.
“It’s peak season for grifters,” they stated. “A lot of people connected to the Republican Party will try to ride both horses.”
They additionally stated that DeSantis would “be smart” to attempt to increase cash from British expats residing in America — a path that was adopted by Trump in 2016 and by former presidential candidate Mitt Romney in 2012.
Make America … Florida?
The U.Okay. would be the last cease on DeSantis’ four-country commerce mission, following visits to Japan, South Korea and Israel.
A DeSantis spokesperson stated the journey would “build on economic relationships Florida has with each country,” however it’s being seen by media pundits as a approach for the governor to look presidential on the worldwide stage.
He is about to meet with Badenoch after which Cleverly tomorrow in separate bilateral conferences.
DeSantis may even attend a enterprise roundtable with Badenoch, a rising star in her personal party and the bookmakers’ favourite to grow to be subsequent Conservative chief, being organized by the BritishAmericanBusiness foyer group.
British ministers will likely be keen to know the governor’s views on worldwide commerce, given U.S. President Joe Biden — who formally launched his personal re-election marketing campaign this week — refused to proceed the post-Brexit U.Okay.-U.S. commerce talks that started below the Trump administration.
Leslie Vinjamuri, U.S. professional on the Chatham House assume tank in London, stated DeSantis will need the journey to present financial competence to a wider American viewers.
“It makes complete sense as a governor and a presidential hopeful that he would demonstrate his economic credentials. America is about the land of the free and the opportunity to succeed — and getting rich,” she stated.
“Having that very strong relationship and connectivity to the U.K. plays extremely well in the U.S. — it certainly plays well in Florida.”
DeSantis’ view of the Russo-Ukraine struggle may even be scrutinized if and when he declares his presidential run, after he just lately referred to as the battle a mere “territorial dispute.”
The governor swiftly tried to walk back those comments following a bitter backlash — but additionally told Nikkei Asia this week that European international locations should do way more to assist Ukraine.
“The Europeans really need to do more. I mean, this is their continent,” he stated.