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And so it begins. For real, this time.
Former President Donald Trump formally hit the campaign trail on Saturday with visits to New Hampshire and South Carolina, the first two 2024 primary states, which he kicked off by delivering the keynote address at the New Hampshire Republican Party’s annual meeting in Salem on Saturday morning.
“So we’re here, and we start, we begin,” Trump began, saying he was “thrilled to be back in this beautiful state.” Perhaps he was, but as the day wore on, the former president, who described himself as “more angry now” than in his two previous White House runs, began to take shots at his Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, his most likely — and most threatening — potential opponent.
Coincidentally, as reported by the Washington Post on Saturday, DeSantis’s political team has already identified multiple potential hires in early primary states, such as New Hampshire and Iowa, according to one of the Republicans, who said experienced operatives have expressed interest in a 2024 DeSantis run, though as RedState’s Bob Hoge notes, the WaPo story is thinly sourced.
Whether Trump caught wind of the WaPo story sometime on Saturday or was already aware of the latest DeSantis news, he grew crankier about the Florida governor as the day wore on. During a campaign event at the statehouse in downtown Columbia, South Carolina, Trump was irritated by the notion that DeSantis would even consider running for president in 2024:
When I hear that he might [run] I think it’s very disloyal.
How so? Because Trump again claimed he “got him [DeSantis] elected” in the 2018 Florida gubernatorial race after DeSantis’s political career was “all but finished,” before moving on to accuse DeSantis and his administration of “trying to rewrite history” about the governor’s early pandemic response.
There are Republican governors that did not close their states. Florida was closed for a long period of time. They’re trying to rewrite history.
I don’t know anything about Florida being closed “for a long period of time,” but I do know the following, as noted by CNN:
In March 2020, the Florida governor issued an executive order closing bars and nightclubs, urging people to follow US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines to limit gatherings on beaches to no more than 10 people.
By that September, DeSantis signed an order clearing restaurants and bars to fully open, which drew criticism from public health officials due to the Covid-19 spike that fall.
COVID Gnome Anthony Fauci was unavailable for comment.
It should also be noted that Trump’s claim comes after DeSantis called on state lawmakers earlier this month to make permanent existing penalties for companies that require all employees to be vaccinated.
As is the case with most politicians, Trump has a long history of only citing polls that show him leading, while either dismissing or ignoring polls with results he doesn’t like. His “I’m leading by a lot” claim, backed by three recent polls, contrasts with multiple polls that show DeSantis in the lead, head-to-head, by double digits, but here’s the deal: Hanging one’s hat on any poll or survey results is a fool’s game at best – particularly, nearly two years before an election. There’s a whole lot of water to flow under the political bridge over the next two years, and to suggest otherwise at this point is nonsensical.
Finally, it should also be noted that DeSantis himself has given zero indication that he intends to seek the presidency in 2024, while “some” suggest the Florida governor should “wait his turn” until 2028, or even more outlandishly, saddle up to Trump as his running mate in 2024 — that is not going to happen — and then run in 2028.
If we’ve learned anything about Ron DeSantis, it’s that he’s a man who does what he wants to do at the time of his own choosing, and as we’ve seen with those who’ve crossed the formidable governor, he tends to emerge from battles as the winner.
Expecting — or wishing for — a civil debate on the issues between Donald Trump and Ron DeSantis in 2024 is not dissimilar to expecting Joe Biden to suddenly gain mental clarity or Adam Schiff to stop lying: It ain’t gonna happen.
At the end of the proverbial day, if DeSantis does run, one man will be bruised but left standing. The question is, will the Republican Party be left standing, as well?
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Originally Posted on: https://redstate.com/mike_miller/2023/01/29/apparently-its-very-disloyal-to-seek-the-2024-gop-presidential-nomination-if-your-name-isnt-donald-trump-n695651