Some of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ top donors and backers privately want him to bow out of the 2024 presidential election and wait until 2028. More than 20 unnamed GOP strategists told NBC News they believed that DeSantis cannot win.
These strategists and pundits contend that Ron DeSantis is not ready for the pressures of a campaign for the presidency or for a blistering and bruising battle with former President Donald Trump for the Republican nomination.
Ron DeSantis Set to Face Trump
Losing against Trump in the 2024 primary could make him damaged goods for the 2028 Republican nomination.
“If DeSantis announces his run against Trump he will lose the primary and become completely unelectable in 2028 because of what Trump will do to him. I’m sorry to say this,” conservative Twitter personality Ian Miles Choeng wrote.
Many GOP operatives believe that Trump is impossible to beat due to his commanding lock on a large portion of the Republican electorate.
Ron DeSantis trails Trump by 30 points, according to the latest Fox News poll in the latter’s bid to become the first president since Grover Cleveland to lose re-election and stage a successful comeback.
Cleveland, a Democrat, lost the 1890 election to Republican Benjamin Harrison, only to mount a successful comeback and oust Harrison in 1892.
The Real Clear Politics average of several polls shows Trump with 45.7 percent to 28.9 percent.
Democrats are betting on running against Trump. That’s perhaps why George Soros, who knows his endorsement is the kiss of death for any Republican candidate, touted that he thought DeSantis would beat Trump for the GOP nomination.
“My hope for 2024 is that Trump and Governor DeSantis of Florida will slug it out for the Republican nomination. Trump has turned into a pitiful figure, continually bemoaning his loss in 2020. Big Republican donors are abandoning him in droves. DeSantis is shrewd, ruthless and ambitious. He’s likely to be the Republican candidate,” Soros said in February, and Trump’s surrogates have used it to paint DeSantis in a negative light.
DeSantis does better than Trump in trial heats against President Joe Biden, who former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie calls a “boring” candidate. A Quinnipiac Poll shows DeSantis leading Biden by 48 percent to 46 percent.
The Florida governor’s statements on Ukraine angered both the pro- and anti-Ukraine camps in the Republican Party.
They also think he has stumbled amid the criminal charges being leveled against Trump.
“DeSantis has got to be careful not to walk the line on issues,” former North Carolina Gov. Pat McRory told NBC News. “He comes out strong on so many issues, if he starts playing the political game of trying to have it both ways, I think he’ll lose his credibility … I think too many of the Republican presidential candidates are still trying to walk the line of having it both ways, and you can’t do that with Trump.”
The governor’s weak polls against Trump are signs of a serious enthusiasm gap.
“DeSantis is doing a book tour. He’s barnstorming the country, and his polls are going down,” a strategist told NBC News. “Meanwhile, Trump’s potentially under indictment, and Trump’s going up. It’s just not a good look for DeSantis.”
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And Ron DeSantis supporters have been frustrated by his failure to hit back hard against Trump.
“DeSantis shouldn’t ignore him for too much longer,” Dave Eberhart, a pro-DeSantis Republican donor said.
Ron DeSantis is widely believed to be waiting until June to decide whether to make a run.
John Rossomando was a senior analyst for Defense Policy and served as Senior Analyst for Counterterrorism at The Investigative Project on Terrorism for eight years. His work has been featured in numerous publications such as The American Thinker, Daily Wire, Red Alert Politics, CNSNews.com, The Daily Caller, Human Events, Newsmax, The American Spectator, TownHall.com, and Crisis Magazine. He also served as senior managing editor of The Bulletin, a 100,000-circulation daily newspaper in Philadelphia, and received the Pennsylvania Associated Press Managing Editors first-place award in 2008 for his reporting.