During an appearance on "Real Time with Bill Maher," DeSantis stated, "I don't think he can win the election. I could win the election... I don't think he can actually get the job done that we need to do." The governor emphasized the need for accountability regarding the government's handling of the Covid-19 pandemic, including restrictions, mandates, and lockdowns, which he believes Trump would not address adequately.
Interestingly, Maher and DeSantis found common ground on the topic of the Coronavirus pandemic, a key talking point for the Republican governor. DeSantis has been proud of his efforts to minimize lockdowns and reopen schools faster than most other states. Maher acknowledged this, stating, "You did handle it better... You were more right and they won't give you credit for it. That's the part of you I like."
However, Maher also criticized certain aspects of DeSantis' record in Florida, particularly his past support for individuals who denied the outcome of the 2020 election, such as Kari Lake, who is currently running for a Senate seat in Arizona. Maher expressed his disappointment, saying, "You campaigned for election deniers in 2022. This I cannot forgive — to quote The Godfather."
In response, the governor pointed out the hypocrisy of Hollywood celebrities who, in 2016, produced advertisements urging the Electoral College to vote against Trump, claiming that the election had been stolen by Russia.
DeSantis argued that such claims had persisted for years, and therefore, the denial of election results was not a unique occurrence in modern American history.
Despite the ideological differences between DeSantis and Maher, the governor received applause multiple times from Maher's predominantly liberal audience.