Watch CBS News

Trump 2020 press communications director to join pro-DeSantis super PAC

SiriusXM Broadcasts 2020 New Hampshire Democratic Primary Live - Day 1
A file photo of Erin Perrine. Photo by Paul Marotta/Getty Images for SiriusXM

Erin Perrine, who was the press communications director for former President Donald Trump's 2020 campaign, has joined a super PAC supporting Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis — another sign that the infrastructure for his yet unannounced 2024 presidential campaign is expanding. 

Perrine will be the communications director for the "Never Back Down" PAC, a group led by Trump-era top homeland security official Ken Cuccinelli. 

This group has been advocating a DeSantis presidential candidacy, and according to two sources familiar with the governor's planning, it is likely to be the main outside super PAC supporting a potential DeSantis run.

After her stint as the 2020 Trump campaign's national spokesperson, Perrine served as communications director for GOP Texas Sen. Ted Cruz. Cuccinelli and Perrine are two of the most prominent former Trump aides or officials who are now working to support DeSantis. The Florida governor appears to be Trump's most formidable potential 2024 Republican primary opponent at this point.

"Erin joining Never Back Down cements our ability to deliver our message and grow our movement effectively. She will play a leading role in making sure we get Gov. Ron DeSantis to the White House," said Chris Jankowski, the PAC's executive director.

Earlier this week, seasoned GOP strategist Jeff Roe was also brought on as an adviser to the super PAC, according to a Republican operative with direct knowledge of the move.

Roe was one of the key advisers for Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin's successful 2021 run and was the campaign manager for Cruz's 2016 presidential campaign. 

The PAC's staff hires come as DeSantis is set to embark on several trips in April as part of his book tour and various speaking engagements with local GOP groups. He is expected to visit South Carolina and Nevada, two key early presidential primary states, as well as Pennsylvania, Michigan, Ohio, Virginia and the Washington, D.C., area. 

Asked if he'll run for president in 2024, DeSantis told British journalist Piers Morgan this week to "stay tuned" but said he has not yet made a final decision. In private conversations with donors and allies, DeSantis has indicated he is leaning toward a 2024 run but will make a final decision after his legislative session is over in early May, according to two people familiar with his team's private discussions. 

"I've told people I've got a lot that I've got to do over the next few months in Florida. We're going to put a lot of points on the board, and then we'll see how the dust settles after that," DeSantis told Morgan.

DeSantis signed eight bills into law on Friday, including one aimed at limiting damages paid by businesses and property owners in lawsuits. The GOP supermajority in Tallahassee is already considering a six-week abortion ban, a bill allowing concealed carry of a firearm without a license and an expansion of the state's ban on education of sexual orientation and gender identity to eighth grade and under.   

Asked by Morgan if he believes he has what it takes to be president, DeSantis said he does.

"What it takes is to have a vision for the country, have the ability to exercise leadership, and being willing to stand in that fire when it gets really, really hot, and not back down under pressure. And I think I have all those things," he said. 

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.