Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ 2024 Presidential ambitions have come to an end. On Sunday, he suspended his campaign and issued an at-times backhanded, though strong endorsement of Donald Trump.
On the eve of the New Hampshire primary, no less, which takes place on Tuesday.
DeSantis dropped out and threw his support behind Trump in a video posted on X, the same platform where he kicked off his White House bid. (And unfortunately, with a spurious quote.)
DeSantis said on X, “Now, following our second-place finish in Iowa, we’ve prayed and deliberated on the way forward.”
“If there was anything I could do to produce a favorable outcome, more campaign stops, more interviews, I would do it,” the governor continued. “But I can’t ask our supporters to volunteer their time and donate their resources. We don’t have a clear path to victory.”
“Accordingly, I am today suspending my campaign,” DeSantis declared.
He acknowledged that Trump, whom he has viciously attacked during the primary, was the clear choice of the majority of Republican voters.
“It’s clear to me that a majority of Republican primary voters want to give Donald Trump another chance. They watched his presidency get stymied by relentless resistance, and they see Democrats using lawfare to this day to attack him.” he said.
I’ve had disagreements with him, such as on the Coronavirus pandemic, and his elevation of Anthony Fauci, Trump is superior to the current incumbent Joe Biden. That is clear.
Then DeSantis got behind his former rival to attack the establishment wing of the party, represented by Nikki Haley: “He has my endorsement because we can’t go back to the old Republican guard of yesteryear, a repackaged form of warmed-over corporatism that Nikki Haley represents.”
In the Iowa Caucus last week, DeSantis and Haley came in at distant second and third to Trump, respectively.
After Iowa, according to NBC News, “Since coming in second in Iowa on Monday, DeSantis’ campaign has sent mixed signals to voters, donors and lower-level aides, creating confusion about his intentions for the rest of the campaign.”
“He went directly to South Carolina from Iowa, a move apparently designed to bolster his insistence that he would stay in the race at least until that state’s late-February primary,” the report noted. “But then he bounced back and forth between South Carolina and New Hampshire, scheduling events in the Granite State with little warning for supporters and undecided voters who wanted to see him before Tuesday’s primary.”
On Sunday, DeSantis canceled an NBC Meet the Press appearance and left his supporters wondering what was happening.
Later that day, it became clear.
Some Trump allies saw it coming. Florida Republican Congressman Matt Gaetz said at a Trump rally in Manchester, New Hampshire on Sunday before DeSantis’s announcement, “We might get Ron DeSantis back onside pretty soon.”
And soon it was.
DeSantis Went After Trump Before Iowa
DeSantis was surprisingly aggressive with his criticism of Trump througout the campaign, despite understanding that much of Trump’s base was also a natural home for his own.
The governor tore into Trump a good bit in the last debate before Iowa, asking, “why he wants to build a $1 billion-plus, big, beautiful new FBI building right in the heart of the swamp in Washington, D.C.”
On abortion, DeSantis said of Trump, “He owes it to you here in Iowa to explain this change he’s had in his positioning.”
That was probably in reference to Trump calling the six-week abortion ban sought by some states, including Florida, ” a terrible thing and a terrible mistake.”
On the pandemic, DeSantis said of Trump, “I think it’s fine to criticize Donald Trump, and I know the media brings this up a lot. But you know who else deserves to be criticized? The people that violated the Constitution during COVID.”
DeSantis said at the time that “If Trump is the nominee, it’s going to be about January 6, legal issues, criminal trials.”
“The Democrats and the media would love to run with that,” he added.
This now becomes a two person race, with all eyes on New Hampshire.
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