“Real Time” host Bill Maher advised Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis to avoid the “battle in the mud” with former President Donald Trump in the 2024 election cycle as reports indicate he will enter the race for the White House.
“I personally think that would be a mistake for him,” Maher began a panel discussion on Friday. “Because he’s 46, I think. Just let Trump die… politically, I mean. Or, you know, he’s older. It could happen. I’m not wishing it, but OK. He’d still only be 50.”
Maher continued: “If DeSantis got in against Trump, Trump will do to him what he does with everybody. Not just bloody him, it’ll be a battle in the mud — and all DeSantis has to do is wait and he can be president. I normally would say the opposite — get in early before they pick you apart, but in this case, with Trump, it changes everything.”
GOP pollster Kristen Soltis Anderson compared running against Trump to “running into a wood chipper” but disagreed with Maher that DeSantis should wait it out since this is his “moment.”
“You don’t get your moment all the time in American politics,” Soltis Anderson said.
“It’s gonna be his moment in four years anyway,” Maher responded.
“In four years, he won’t be governor of Florida anymore because he can’t be, he probably won’t be in the U.S. Senate unless he left to challenge Rick Scott somehow. He’s gonna be kind of chilling, doing nothing,” Soltis Anderson pushed back. “So this is his moment. I think it would be foolish for him to take a pass on this.”
“Nixon wasn’t anything when he ran in 1968,” Maher doubled down.
This marked a much different attitude from Maher regarding the potential DeSantis-Trump showdown.
Maher said in 2022 that DeSantis had “more than a shot” to defeat Trump in a GOP primary. In November, he hailed DeSantis as “powerful” while declaring Trump a “loser.”
He also previously suggested DeSantis would be a “way better” White House alternative to Trump, saying the Florida governor is not “certifiably insane.”