OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.
Former President Donald Trump argued that 2024 GOP rival Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis should abandon his presidential campaign in order to unite the Republican base ahead of next year’s election.
DeSantis was re-elected governor by nearly 20 points last year, a modern-day record in a state that has moved solidly to the right and is no longer considered a battleground during his nearly five-year tenure.
Trump campaigned for DeSantis in 2018, who had served the majority of his three terms in Congress before launching his gubernatorial bid.
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.'”
Trump added: “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. And then three years later. They asked 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.'”
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) recently made a prediction about who he believes will win the 2024 GOP presidential nomination: The 45th President of the United States.
During an appearance on Fox News’s “Sunday Morning Futures” with Maria Bartiromo, McCarthy expressed confidence that Trump would prevail over all others in the nomination race.
“I think he will be the nominee,” McCarthy said about Trump. “The thing is, President Trump is stronger today than he was in 2016 or 2020, and there’s a reason why. They saw the policies of what he was able to do with America – putting America first, making our economy stronger.”
“We didn’t have inflation. We didn’t have these battles around the world. We didn’t look weak around the world,” he added.
“Well, it looks like Ron DeSantis is now trying to work with your colleagues who are pushing for a shutdown,” Bartiromo countered.
“I don’t think that would work anywhere. A shutdown would only give strength to the Democrats,” McCarthy noted, citing the political disadvantages he sees of an inability to fund the government. “It would give the power to Biden. It wouldn’t pay our troops. It wouldn’t pay our border agents.”
“I actually want to achieve something, and this is where President Trump is so smart — that he was successful in this.” McCarthy continued. “President Trump is beating Biden right now in the polls. He is stronger than he has ever been in this process, and, look, I served with Ron DeSantis – he’s not at the same level as President Trump by any shape or form. He would not have gotten elected without President Trump’s endorsement.”
Kevin McCarthy stands behind President Trump 100% and says that DeSantis isn’t on Trump’s level in any shape or form💥
“President Trump is stronger today than he was in 2016 or 2020… I served with Ron DeSantis. He’s not at the same level as President Trump by any shape or… pic.twitter.com/366zn5ylmM
— TheStormHasArrived (@TheStormRedux) September 17, 2023
Fox News noted further: “While McCarthy’s comments do not amount to an official endorsement of Trump, they are a clear message of friendship to the former president. McCarthy had previously offended the Trump campaign with another television appearance in June. In that instance, he told CNBC that he was not sure whether Trump was the best candidate to defeat Biden. He soon apologized to Trump and recanted, sending out an email fundraiser declaring Trump to be the strongest opponent to Biden.”