Trump expected to jump into 2024 race as GOP weighs dumping him for DeSantis

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Donald Trump and Ron DeSantis. AP

Trump expected to jump into 2024 race as GOP weighs dumping him for DeSantis

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WEST PALM BEACH, Florida  Former President Donald Trump is expected to launch a 2024 bid for the White House, even as some Republicans are looking to dump him following Republicans’ underwhelming performance in the 2022 midterm elections.

Trump’s announcement will be made Tuesday evening in prime time, live from his private club in South Florida, Mar-a-Lago. However, some of his close advisers urged him in recent days to hold off until after the conclusion of Georgia’s Senate runoff election in December.

TRUMP ANNOUNCEMENT LOOMS OVER GEORGIA SENATE RUNOFF AS GOP FRACTURES

As a whole, Trump’s stock has slipped in recent weeks. His endorsed candidates suffered key losses on election night, including both the Senate and gubernatorial races in Pennsylvania, while Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) has seen his star rise with likely Republican voters following a landslide, near 20-point reelection effort.

For his part, Trump has sought to elbow “DeSanctimonious” out of the race before either officially enters. He released a lengthy statement two days after the election lashing out at the “average” governor and his refusal to declare a desire to run for president.

“The Fake News asks him if he’s going to run if President Trump runs, and he says, ‘I’m only focused on the Governor’s race, I’m not looking into the future,’” Trump wrote in the statement. “Well, in terms of loyalty and class, that’s really not the right answer.” The former president and his family have even sent DeSantis thinly veiled threats in recent interviews with Fox News.

“I would tell you things about him that won’t be very flattering,” Trump said on Nov. 9 when asked about a potential DeSantis presidential bid. “DeSantis, I know more about him than anybody, other than, perhaps, his wife.”

Lara Trump, the wife of the former president’s second son, Eric, similarly suggested how it would be “nicer” for DeSantis if he didn’t run in 2024.

“Those primaries get very messy and very raw, we’ve experienced that before. So wouldn’t it be nicer for him, and I think he knows this, to wait until 2028,” she stated. “I think that Ron DeSantis is very smart. Look, he’s a young guy. There will be a lot of opportunity for him in the future, and he knows this, to run for president. I think he’s probably waiting to see what my father-in-law does.”

A growing number of GOP officials and lawmakers have also distanced themselves from Trump following the midterm elections. Senator-elect JD Vance (R-OH), a MAGA adherent and Trump endorsee, did not name Trump in a list of dozens he thanked in his election night victory speech. Vance did defend Trump in his postmortem on the midterm elections, however.

On Monday, House GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), who is facing his own post-midterm hurdles, declined to tell reporters whether he supports Trump being the 2024 nominee.

“President Trump’s endorsed candidates won roughly 90% of the time but fell short in a number of key races,” one GOP official noted to the Washington Examiner. “He’s far from perfect, but it looks like he doesn’t have the same pull in some of these swing states that he did in 2020 or 2016. On the other hand, people look at DeSantis as a fresh start. Someone who can continue on the work the Trump administration started, without any of the baggage.”

Some Trump supporters and critics alike, however, maintain that DeSantis won’t actually challenge Trump head-on in 2024.

The Lincoln Project’s George Conway, who is married to former Trump White House adviser Kellyanne Conway, said Sunday on Meet the Press that a Trump-DeSantis primary would be “the mud fest to end all mud fests.”

“For DeSantis, I don’t see what the upside is for him to do that if he might lose,” he continued. “Even if DeSantis does succeed in knocking off Trump, he will end up with some significant percentage of the Republican base angry at him.”

“He’s 44 years old, his best play, his most rational play — and he is rational, unlike Trump — would be to basically continue raising money by leaving open the possibility of running, keep building that massive war chest that he has,” Conway concluded.

CLICK HERE TO READ MORE FROM THE WASHINGTON EXAMINER

President Joe Biden, the presumed Democratic nominee following the party’s surprising midterm performance, seemed tickled at the prospect of Trump and DeSantis slugging it out for the next two years.

“It’d be fun watching them take on each other,” he told reporters in his post-midterm press conference.

© 2022 Washington Examiner

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