Did liberal billionaire philanthropist George Soros endorse Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis for the Republican nomination in the 2024 presidential race? No, that's not true: In remarks to the Munich Security Conference in February 2023, Soros said DeSantis is "likely to be a Republican candidate," but he didn't say he was endorsing the Sunshine State's governor or wanted him to run. It was merely a projection by Soros.
The claim appeared in an article (archived here) published by The Gateway Pundit on February 16, 2023, titled "The Kiss of Death - Florida Governor Ron DeSantis Endorsed by George Soros (VIDEO)." The article opens:
Florida Governor DeSantis just received the kiss of death. George Soros has endorsed DeSantis for 2024. This could not be worse for DeSantis. When the devil likes you, you might be doing something wrong.
This is what the post looked like on The Gateway Pundit website at the time of writing:
(Source: The Gateway Pundit screenshot taken on Fri Feb 17 17:06:30 2023 UTC)
The article includes a social media post with a 47-second clip from a more than 40-minute address Soros, founder of the Open Society Foundations, gave to the Munich Security Conference on February 16, 2023. The themes were "rising authoritarianism" and "climate change." In the clip, Soros says:
My hope for 2024 is that Trump and Governor DeSantis of Florida will slug it out for the Republican nomination. Trump has turned into a pitiful figure, continually re-mourning his loss in 2020. Big Republican donors are abandoning him in droves. DeSantis is shrewd, ruthless and ambitious. He is likely to be a Republican candidate.
In his full comments, Soros goes on to clarify his thoughts. He says:
This could induce Trump, whose narcissism has turned into a disease, to run as a third-party candidate. That would lead to a Democratic landslide and force the Republican Party to reform itself. But perhaps, I may be just a little bit biased.
Soros' full address appears in the video below. It is queued up to the section about DeSantis and Trump:
Additional Lead Stories fact checks related to Soros can be found here.