Steve Witkoff plays peacemaker for Donald Trump and “Meatball Ron” 

Former president credits New York-and-Miami-based developer for arranging “great meeting” with Florida governor

Steve Witkoff Brokers Peace for Donald Trump and Ron DeSantis
Steve Witkoff, Donald Trump and Ron DeSantis (Getty)

Thanks to Steve Witkoff, Donald Trump buried the hatchet with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, whom he derisively called “Meatball Ron” and “Ron DeSanctimonious” during the Republican presidential primary. 

On his Truth Social and Instagram accounts, the former president — currently a criminal defendant on trial in New York City — credited Witkoff for brokering peace with DeSantis. The governor’s 2024 presidential ambitions fizzled spectacularly, despite being amped up as the only Republican candidate with a realistic shot of beating Trump for the GOP nomination.

“We had a great meeting yesterday, arranged by mutual friend Steve Witkoff, at his beautiful Shell Bay Club in Hollywood, Florida,” Trump wrote. “The conversation mostly concerned how we would work closely together to MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN.”

Trump and DeSantis met for three hours and discussed possible joint fundraising efforts, the Associated Press reported. 

A Witkoff spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment. 

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Shell Bay Club is a private club with a Greg Norman-designed golf course and tennis courts, where annual memberships cost $1 million. The property, owned by Witkoff and partner Ari Pearl, is actually in Hallandale Beach. The developers are also building a 20-story, 100-unit luxury apartment tower on the 150-acre site. 

Witkoff’s eponymous firm is spearheading a handful of signature projects in South Florida, including redevelopment of the Shore Club in Miami Beach. The New York-and-Miami-based developer is all in on Trump. Federal campaign finance records show Witkoff personally donated a combined $273,200 to Trump’s individual presidential campaign and three political action committees last year. 

Witkoff also appeared to have planned to use a VIP section at this weekend’s Formula 1 Miami Grand Prix at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens to raise cash for Trump’s campaign, according to South Florida Fox Sports radio host Andy Slater. 

Over the weekend, Slater posted an image on X, formerly Twitter, of a cease-and-desist letter sent to Witkoff by the Formula 1 race’s organizer. Witkoff allegedly asked Shell Bay Club members to buy tickets to Witkoff’s “Paddock Club Rooftop Suite” at $250,000 a pop, the letter states. Race organizers alleged that Witkoff was “namely raising money for a federal election, which clearly violates” his agreement with the Miami Grand Prix.

“If this is true, we regret to inform you that your suite license will be revoked, you will be not allowed to attend the race at any time and we will refund you in full,” the letter states. “Political campaigning has its place, and it is not at our race.” 

The Miami Grand Prix’s temporary race track and stands, called the Miami International Autodrome, are owned by billionaire developer Steve Ross, who also owns Hard Rock Stadium. Ross, a longtime Republican who founded New York-based Related Companies, faced backlash in 2019 when he hosted a Trump fundraiser. Federal campaign finance records show that Ross and Related did not make any political contributions last year. 

Witkoff bringing Trump and DeSantis together could help the former president win over some of DeSantis’ donors and supporters who were turned off by Trump’s relentless attacks against Florida’s top elected official during the primary. But Trump doesn’t really need DeSantis to win the Sunshine State in the November general election.

Trump, who resides at his private club Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, won the state’s Republican primary election last month in a landslide, capturing 81 percent of the GOP vote. DeSantis placed third behind former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley after both candidates had dropped out. 

Trump originally faced off against a dozen candidates, including Miami Mayor Francis Suarez, who was the first contender to drop out of the Republican presidential nomination race after he failed to qualify for the first debate last year. But it was DeSantis who drew most of Trump’s ire.