Former President Trump says Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R) running for president would be ‘a great act of disloyalty’ as he kicks off his first two major campaign events in his own presidential race of 2024.
Trump traveled to New Hampshire and South Carolina, two of the first states to vote in the primary calendar, on Saturday after a quieter than normal start to his re-election campaign. He launched his campaign in mid-November but has yet to hold any consistent major rallies in his 2016 and 2020 runs.
Trump announced the leaders of his campaigns in New Hampshire and South Carolina during his speeches. After his speech in South Carolina, he sat down for an interview with The Associated Press and slammed DeSantis, who was rumored to be considering his own presidential run and who has consistently placed second in hypothetical primary polls. republicans.
Trump underscored his own leadership status in many of those polls and took credit for DeSantis’ first election as governor of Florida.
“If he runs, that’s good. I’m up in the polls. He’s going to have to do what he wants to do, but he can get away,” Trump said. “I think that would be a big act of disloyalty because, you know, I brought him in. He had no chance. His political life was over.
Trump endorsed DeSantis before the Republican primary for the gubernatorial race in 2018.
Trump faced criticism from many in his own party after November’s midterm elections, in which Republicans underperformed their hopes and expectations. The president’s party historically lost seats in Congress midterm, but the Democrats were able to increase their majority in the Senate and only narrowly lost in the House.
Many, including some Trump allies, have faulted the former president for backing GOP primary candidates who were seen as less likely to win a general election but more loyal to him than their other challengers.
Many of those candidates have lost in key congressional and gubernatorial races.
Polls have begun to show DeSantis, who has not publicly confirmed his run in 2024, closing the gap with Trump or, in some cases, leading to hypothetical polls. But Trump led DeSantis by 17 points in a Morning Consult poll earlier this month.
Trump told AP he hadn’t spoken to DeSantis in a long time. He expressed confidence in his own outlook with the possibility of DeSantis showing up in an interview with David Brody on “The Water Cooler” earlier this week, saying, “We’re going to handle this like I handle things.”
Trump is the only major candidate to officially launch his candidacy in the 2024 race, but many Republicans have indicated they are considering running, including former Vice President Mike Pence, the former US ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley and former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. .
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