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DeSantis' office refutes report he asked former President Donald Trump to halt Sarasota rally

Trump criticized for planned rally in Sarasota while search for survivors in Surfside ongoing
President Donald Trump speaks with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis during a roundtable discussion on the coronavirus outbreak and storm preparedness, July 31, 2020, at Pelican Golf Club in Belleair, Fla.
Posted at 4:23 PM, Jul 02, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-02 16:23:29-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — Former President Donald Trump is scheduled to hold a rally this weekend in Florida, even though Gov. Ron DeSantis has reportedly asked him to reschedule it amid the ongoing search for survivors after last week's Surfside condominium collapse.

According to the Washington Examiner, the governor's office "made a direct plea" to Trump's team, asking him to postpone Saturday evening's planned rally in Sarasota.

DeSantis has been in South Florida all week as the search-and-rescue efforts continue after the June 24 partial collapse of the Champlain Towers South condo building.

However, DeSantis' office issued a statement denying the fact that the governor attempted to stop the rally.

"Gov. DeSantis is focusing on his duties as governor and the tragedy in Surfside and has never suggested or requested that events planned in different parts of Florida -- from the Stanley Cup finals to President Trump's rally -- should be canceled," the statement said.

Trump has been criticized for planning a rally while so many have lost their lives just about 70 miles away from Trump's Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach.

"Like all Americans, President Trump sends his deepest condolences to those who've lost loved ones or been displaced by the terrible tragedy in Surfside," Trump spokeswoman Liz Harrington said. "The event in Sarasota, however, is on the other side of the state, 3 ½ hours away, approximately the same distance from Boston to New York, and will not impact any of the recovery efforts. In fact, President Trump has instructed his team to collect relief aid for Surfside families both online and on-site at the Sarasota rally."

DeSantis recently beat out Trump in a presidential straw poll at the Western Conservative Summit in Denver.

Trump, whose endorsement of DeSantis helped him clinch the Republican nomination and, ultimately, the governor's mansion in 2018, has said he would consider DeSantis as his running mate if Trump decides to make a return to the White House in 2024.

DeSantis praised President Joe Biden on Thursday for being "very supportive" of the rescue efforts during the Democrat's visit to Surfside.