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Donald Trump warns party rival Ron DeSantis not to run for president in 2024 | Donald Trump

Donald Trump has warned his party rival Ron DeSantis not to run for president in 2024 and threatened to reveal information about him if he does.

Speaking to reporters on his plane on Monday night, Trump said: “I think if he runs he could hurt himself very badly. I think the base would not like it – I don’t think it would be good for the party.”

The former US president also warned that he would tell reporters “things” about the Florida governor “that won’t be very flattering”.

Trump is expected to announce his third run for the Republican presidential nomination later this month, seeking to piggyback predicted Republican success in Tuesday’s midterm elections. At a pre-midterms rally in Ohio on Monday, he indicated an announcement could come in Florida on 15 November.

DeSantis has emerged as the most powerful rival to Trump in Republican circles, governing his state with rightwing policies popular with the party’s Trumpist base.

DeSantis was re-elected as governor of Florida on Tuesday and has sometimes awkwardly avoided questions about his presidential ambitions, but has also been reported to be considering waiting for 2028, when Trump will be constitutionally barred from running again.

Trump attacked DeSantis last week, calling him “Ron DeSanctimonious” during remarks at a rally in Pennsylvania. He discussed the governor again on his plane on Monday night.

Trump called DeSantis “a fine guy” and said the two of them did not have a “tiff”, but also said he was “way up in the polls”.

Trump does dominate polls regarding notional candidates in 2024 but DeSantis is clearly his strongest rival and a clear winner in surveys which remove Trump from the equation.

Trump continued: “If he did run, I will tell you things about him that won’t be very flattering. I know more about him than anybody other than perhaps his wife, who is really running his campaign.

“Any of that stuff is not good – you have other people that possibly will run, I guess. I don’t know if he runs. If he runs, he runs.”

In messages viewed by the Guardian, a Trump campaign insider said Trump was “going to attack” his rival and said it was “very true” Republican supporters would not like the idea DeSantis’s wife, Casey DeSantis, was running his campaign.

Later on Tuesday, Trump briefly wandered into the ballroom at his Mar-a-Lago resort, the venue for the election night watch party, and appeared to warn DeSantis again.

“I’m not sure he would want to run,” Trump said.

Trump remained coy about who he might choose as a running mate when he announces his 2024 run. “Oh, I’ll let you know very soon,” he said.

One of Trump’s battery of lawyers has also warned DeSantis not to run. Speaking to Right Side Broadcasting Network, Alina Habba said: “He needs to stay in Florida. Just stay where you are. You are doing a great job in Florida.”

In Florida on Tuesday, Trump told reporters he voted for DeSantis.