BREAKING: DeSantis Bows Out Before NH Embarrassment
Choosing to put America first, the Florida governor endorses Trump.
This piece has been updated with further information.
Following months of campaign dysfunction that culminated in a disappointing January 15 Iowa caucus showing, Florida’s Gov. Ron DeSantis announced Sunday that he would be suspending his campaign and endorsing the former President Donald Trump.
“It’s clear to me that a majority of Republican primary voters want to give Donald Trump another chance,” said DeSantis in his pre-recorded statement on X, formerly Twitter.
“Trump is superior to the current incumbent, Joe Biden,” he commented. “That is clear. I signed a pledge to support the Republican nominee, and I will honor that pledge. He has my endorsement because we can’t go back to the old Republican guard of yesteryear.”
"Governor DeSantis has an extremely bright future in the conservative movement" Heritage Foundation President Kevin Roberts wrote to The American Conservative. "While we all rally around our movement’s leader—President Trump—we also know that the future of conservative policies will be in how effectively we implement Trumpian conservatism."
“The simple fact which many of us simply didn't fully grasp back in January 2023 is that neither Ron DeSantis nor anybody else was ever going to seriously contest Trump for the 2024 Republican primary,” one former DeSantis staffer commented to TAC on condition of anonymity. “This was something that was pretty obvious to me as early as March 2023, and I know I wasn’t the only on the campaign to quietly come to that realization.”
“Trump has plenty of flaws. He’s still human, after all,” the former staffer continued. “But he’s also a once-in-a-lifetime, world-historical force of nature. The Republican Party is his party, and we were naive to ever think otherwise.”
As Roberts put it: "There is no one, other than President Trump himself, who has done more in that regard than Gov. DeSantis, so I thank him immensely for showing what the future of our movement—and the country—is."
DeSantis’s departure leaves Nimarata “Nikki” Haley, formerly U.N. ambassador and governor of South Carolina, as Trump’s sole competitor in Tuesday’s New Hampshire primary. Haley pulled 19.1 percent of the Iowa vote, behind DeSantis’s 21.2 percent and Trump’s record-setting 51 percent.
The Florida governor’s departure shows the America First wing of the party consolidating behind its old standard-bearer to defeat Haley, a proxy of the old GOP establishment consensus. As TAC’s Dan McCarthy wrote after Trump’s blowout victory in the Hawkeye State, “As things stand, DeSantis now functions as Haley’s most valuable ally. He splits the right-wing primary vote with Trump, while Haley has the pseudo-moderate lane all to herself.”
Get daily emails in your inbox
The Florida governor is a proud man, and he has much of which to be proud, his disappointing showing in Iowa notwithstanding. But he was ill-served by those who told him 2024 was his “moment,” and he will be ill-advised to remain in the race without a hope of winning. There are no better results awaiting him after Iowa, and in the next two major contests there are clearly worse ones.
It looks as if DeSantis has decided to put America first.