OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.
The competition for the next presidential election is starting to get tense and Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis just did something that has many people believing he is prepared to campaign for the job.
The popular Republican governor is scheduled to speak in Iowa next week as former President Donald Trump and Nikki Haley are scheduled to speak in the state this month. Iowa is a battleground state for Republicans and one of the first primary states.
Gov. DeSantis is set to promote his book, “The Courage To Be Free,” in Des Moines on March 10 and Trump is set to be in the state on March 13, The Associated Press reported.
“It’s going from ground zero right to the moon,” Polk County, Iowa Republican Party Chair Gloria Mazza said. “It sure gets us excited.”
The Associated Press reported.
The closely timed Iowa visits would draw the two leading Republicans closer toward direct competition. Trump has escalated his attacks on DeSantis in recent months as he increasingly views him as a major threat, deriding the governor on social media and trying out insulting nicknames. For his part, DeSantis responded to questions about one such Trump jab last month by saying he does not spend his time “trying to smear other Republicans.”
Trump attended events last month in early-voting states New Hampshire and South Carolina, and this month’s Iowa visit would be his first trip to the state as an official 2024 candidate.
He would face pressure to do well in Iowa next year, having finished in second place in the 2016 caucuses en route to the Republican presidential nomination and carrying Iowa by healthy margins in the 2016 and 2020 general elections.
In his memoir, Gov. DeSantis shows his admiration for former President Donald Trump, despite the fact that the Sunshine State Republican has been subjected to criticism from the former president, who likely views him as a potential rival in the 2024 GOP primary.
Excerpts from “The Courage to Be Free: Florida’s Blueprint for America’s Revival” have been released by The Guardian ahead of its Tuesday release. In the book, DeSantis continues his battle against Critical Race Theory, and the elite class, and paints prominent Republicans such as George W. Bush and Paul Ryan as part of the so-called establishment that he believes has caused issues for the party. DeSantis also highlights the need for conservative policies and principles to be at the forefront of American politics, the Daily Wire reported, citing the excerpt.
“Some DC commentators have opined that Donald Trump’s nomination represented a hostile takeover of the Republican Party. But this analysis gets it exactly backward,” DeSantis wrote. “Since Ronald Reagan flew back to California on January 20, 1989, the GOP grassroots had been longing for someone who rejected the old-guard way of doing business and who could speak to their concerns and aspirations. Trump supported policies that appealed to the base in a way that GOP leaders in the DC swamp had been either incapable of doing or unwilling to do.”
In his book, DeSantis acknowledges that Trump’s celebrity status as a developer and television star likely contributed to his success in the 2016 election, helping him to win against Hillary Clinton.
The popular governor also places blame on the media and top Democrats for using the Russia collusion conspiracy theory in an attempt to “undermine” Trump’s presidency. DeSantis goes on to stress the importance of party unity and support for the eventual GOP nominee, no matter who it may be.
DeSantis, who won re-election in Florida last year by a historic 19.4-point margin, has credited the former president with helping him win his initial election in 2018. DeSantis acknowledged that Trump’s endorsement was a major factor in his victory, as it “significantly increased” his name recognition and boosted his overall standing in the race.
“I knew that a Trump endorsement would provide me with the exposure to GOP primary voters across the State of Florida, and I was confident that many would see me as a good candidate once they learned about my record,” DeSantis wrote. “I had developed a good relationship with the president largely because I supported his initiatives in Congress and opposed the Russia collusion conspiracy theory.”
Earlier this month, DeSantis — who has not declared for the GOP nomination — dropped the strongest hint yet that he is contemplating a run.
In Jacksonville to discuss tort reform, the popular GOP governor was asked by a reporter about former UN Ambassador and South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley’s official entry into the race earlier in the day and, specifically, whether DeSantis would be the next to declare.
BREAKING: DeSantis asked if he's running for president
"Nikki Haley announced her presidential run today, do you plan on following suit?"
"Hahaha! Wouldn't you like to know!" pic.twitter.com/skYs9wi3DL
— Florida’s Voice (@FLVoiceNews) February 14, 2023
“Nikki Haley announced her presidential run today, do you plan on following suit?” the reporter asked.
“Hahaha! Wouldn’t you like to know,” DeSantis responded with a laugh.