Trump staffer blackballing DeSantis aides used to be one himself

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A campaign staffer for Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump who is leading the charge to blackball staffers for Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis previously worked for the Republican governor.

Justin Caporale, a former Trump White House adviser who helps lead the former president’s advance team, has declared that anyone who staffed a recent DeSantis book tour or previously worked for the governor will be considered ‘persona non grata,’ sources told RealClearPolitics last week.

‘It’s a time for choosing,’ one of the sources reportedly said. ‘If you work for Ron DeSantis’ presidential race, you will not work for the Trump campaign or in the Trump White House.’

The Trump campaign did not dispute the article when reached by Fox News Digital on Sunday.

A quick search for Caporale’s name on the Florida governor’s website shows that he previously worked as the director of external affairs for DeSantis’ office. 

According to the website for Event Strategies Inc., where Caporale serves as CEO, he ‘worked to establish a support network to facilitate community engagement efforts for the Governor, First Lady, and Lt. Governor — including the execution of the State’s largest Trade Mission to Israel.’

Politico reported on Caporale’s exit from DeSantis’ office in June 2019, saying he reportedly rubbed some members of staff the wrong way.

‘He clashed with some other staffers in the office, which had become a problem,’ a source told the outlet at the time. ‘He is a pro, but there was some tension there.’

Caporale did not respond to Fox News Digital’s inquiry that asked why he is permitted on the Trump campaign while other former DeSantis staffers are not.

The blackballing comes amid an escalating war of words between Trump, who’s announced a 2024 presidential campaign, and DeSantis, who has not announced a White House bid but is still widely considered Trump’s chief competition in the Republican primary.

Fox News Digital’s Aaron Kliegman contributed to this report.

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