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Former President Donald Trump argued that 2024 GOP rival Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida should end his presidential bid to unify the Republican base ahead of next year’s 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.
DeSantis won re-election last year by nearly 20 points, which is historic for modern times in a state that has moved solidly to the right and is no longer considered a battleground during his nearly five-year tenure in the governor’s mansion.
In 2018, Trump campaigned for DeSantis, who had served most of 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.”
“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.'”
Support for DeSantis’ campaign has significantly decreased in recent weeks since he attempted to reorganize his team amid the race’s difficulties.
A brand new Yahoo News/YouGov poll, released just hours before the first GOP presidential debate, shows support for DeSantis’ campaign dropped from 23 percent in July to 12 percent.
This is the first time in the poll’s monitoring of the 2024 GOP race that a higher proportion of Republicans and Republican-leaning voters expressed uncertainty about their support for a candidate, at 14 percent than expressed support for DeSantis.
Vivek Ramaswamy increased from 3 percent in the previous month to 8 percent but still lagged behind DeSantis by 4 points in the poll. South Carolina GOP Sen. Tim Scott, who came in second with 4 percent, was followed by former UN ambassador Nikki Haley, who came in third with 3 percent.
Former President Trump held a commanding lead with 52 percent. Trump’s advantage over DeSantis, who remained his main rival, increased from 25 points in July to 40 points. The results come as DeSantis has sought to reset his campaign in recent weeks after struggling to make gains in the polls and taking on high expenses,” The Hill reported.
“The campaign cut a third of its staff last month and replaced its campaign manager earlier this month. DeSantis has most consistently placed in second in GOP primary polls but has not been able to make inroads on Trump’s lead, with the former president leading by double digits — and often by more than 20 or 30 points — in many polls,” the outlet added.
In a head-to-head comparison between the two candidates in a February Yahoo News/YouGov poll, DeSantis had previously prevailed 45 percent to 41 percent.
He is currently far behind Trump in that contest, 60 percent to 23 percent.