OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.
In order to unite the Republican base ahead of the 2024 election, former President Donald Trump argued that Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, a 2024 GOP rival, should abandon his presidential campaign.
During his nearly five-year tenure in the governor’s office, DeSantis won re-election by a margin of nearly 20 points last year, which is historic for contemporary times in a state that has firmly moved to the right and is no longer regarded as a battleground.
DeSantis, who had served the majority of three terms in Congress before launching his gubernatorial bid, was supported by Trump in the 2018 election.
At the time, the AP reported: “DeSantis, 40, was considered an underdog before Trump tweeted his support for DeSantis in December, a month before he got into the race. Trump campaigned to help push DeSantis to a primary victory in August and came to Florida twice to propel him past Democratic Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum in the final days of the election.”
“I think he has to get out for the good of the party. He could have waited, and he would have been odds-on favorite for ’28, but he didn’t do that. I got him elected. If it weren’t for me, he wouldn’t be governor; he’d be working in a law office right now or doing whatever he was going to do,” Trump claimed.
“He was dead when I endorsed him, he came begging for an endorsement, and when I endorsed him he had a couple of like a rocket ship. One day! One day,” Trump to Real America’s Voice, adding that DeSantis had been down in the polls.
DeSantis won his 2018 election by a razor-thin margin.
“He was losing at a level you would never even believe possible,” Trump added. “I even said, ‘I don’t think that if George Washington came back from the dead if Abraham Lincoln came back from the dead, I don’t think they could help you, Ron, you’re dead.'”
“I endorsed him, and he ended up winning easily, and then we got him past the general election, running a then-very hot candidate who Ron didn’t think we could beat, but we beat him,” Trump added.
“And then three years later,” Trump continued, “they ask him, ‘Are you gonna run against the president,’ and he said ‘I have no comment.’ And I said ‘Wait a minute, did he say he has no comment? That means he’s running.'”
Trump’s mugshot from Fulton County, Ga., has backfired tremendously against Democrats while also serving as a boon to his campaign.
In the 24-hour period after the mugshot was released late Thursday, Trump’s campaign raked in more than $7.1 million, according to Breitbart News.
“If you are doing poorly due to the sinister people in control of our country right now, don’t even think about donating,” Trump’s webpage read. “But if you can, please make a contribution to evict Crooked Joe Biden from the White House and SAVE AMERICA during this dark chapter in our nation’s history.”
In addition, the campaign began selling Trump merch with “NEVER SURRENDER!” on it — which he wrote on the X platform, formerly Twitter, with his mugshot hours after its release.
“BREAKING: Close to $20m raised in the last 3 weeks, coinciding with indictment in DC and the Atlanta mugshot. $7.1m since Thursday (Atlanta mugshot). $4.18m yesterday (Friday) alone, the highest grossing day of the entire campaign. Organic money has skyrocketed, especially after @realDonaldTrump tweeted out the picture along with the website URL,” former Trump White House official Steven Cheung tweeted.
Meanwhile, the Republican-led House Judiciary Committee is pressing Democratic Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis to provide details regarding her prosecution of former President Donald Trump.
“Your indictment and prosecution implicate substantial federal interests, and the circumstances surrounding your actions raise serious concerns about whether they are politically motivated,” says a letter sent to Willis by the committee.