DeSantis rallies supporters ahead of formal presidential campaign launch
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis all but outright declared his presidential campaign in a call with donors on Thursday, in which he slammed top rival Donald Trump as unelectable.
DeSantis rallied key supporters and donors in the conference call, in which he argued that he is the only Republican with a chance of defeating President Joe Biden in the 2024 election.
DeSantis also took several veiled swipes at Trump, the current frontrunner in the GOP presidential primary, and hinted that the former president puts himself before his party.
‘There are some that kind of raise money just for themselves,’ said DeSantis, according to a New York Times reporter listening to the call, an apparent reference to criticisms that Trump’s PAC hoarded a war chest during the midterms, and didn’t do enough to support GOP candidates.
DeSantis will officially launch his campaign by filing papers with the Federal Election Commission on May 24, with a more formal kickoff event planned around June 1, CBS News reported, citing three sources.
DeSantis is expected to formally announce that he is running for United States president next week, and has already taken shots at rival Donald Trump in a call with donors.
In a donor call, DeSantis also took several veiled swipes at Trump, the current frontrunner in the GOP presidential primary.
A spokeswoman for DeSantis did not immediately respond to a request for comment from DailyMail.com late on Thursday.
During the donor call, DeSantis said there were only three ‘credible’ candidates for the 2024 presidential race, and that he was the only one who could win both the GOP primary and the general election.
‘You have basically three people at this point that are credible in this whole thing,’ Mr. DeSantis told donors on the call, organized by the super PAC supporting him, Never Back Down.
‘Biden, Trump and me. And I think of those three, two have a chance to get elected president — Biden and me, based on all the data in the swing states, which is not great for the former president and probably insurmountable because people aren’t going to change their view of him,’ he argued.
Biden officially announced on April 25 that he would seek a second term as president in the 2024 election.
In addition to Trump, GOP candidates who have declared candidacies include former Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley, former Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson, and businessman Vivek Ramaswamy.
US Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina also plans to formally announce his presidential campaign on Monday, a person familiar with the matter told DailyMail.com.
But once DeSantis declares, the high-profile governor will immediately become Trump’s biggest rival in the primary race, shaking up a contest that has so far been largely one-sided.
Biden, seen Thursday on a visit to Japan, officially announced on April 25 that he will seek a second term as president in the 2024 election
Once DeSantis declares, the high-profile governor will immediately become Trump’s biggest rival in the primary race, shaking up a contest that has so far been largely one-sided.
DeSantis will likely file paperwork declaring his candidacy ahead of a key meeting with donors in Miami on May 25, due to election rules that require a candidate to formally declare before raising money.
The invitation for the May 25 event stated that donors would be put to “work,” an apparent allusion to raising money for DeSantis, according to a source familiar with the event.
In recent weeks, Trump has stepped up his political attacks on the Florida governor and maintains a commanding lead in the 2024 Republican primary, according to a recent Reuters/Ipsos poll.
DeSantis’ insistence on staying out of the race until the Florida legislature completed its spring session earlier this month rattled some high-profile Republican donors who had wanted him to jump in sooner rather than later to rebut Trump’s .
Those attacks have taken a toll on DeSantis’ standing in national polls.
But in the donor call Thursday, DeSantis suggested that his ability to respond to attacks and criticism would soon change, a veiled reference to becoming a candidate.
Notably, DeSantis did not mention his growing war with the Walt Disney Company during the donor call, which came on the same day that Disney canceled plans for a new $1 billion campus in central Florida.
The Walt Disney Co. and its powerful CEO took its war with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis to a new level Thursday, announcing it will scrap a new $1billion planned Orlando campus (above) that would have brought 2,000 jobs to the state
The project, first announced in July 2021, had been expected to relocate 2,000 jobs from California to Lake Nona, which is about 20 miles east of the huge Disney World complex in Orlando.
In canceling the project, and saying the 2,000 workers would remain in California, Disney in a memo cited ‘new leadership and changing business conditions,’ in an apparent reference to returned CEO Bob Iger and his feud with DeSantis.
DeSantis and his advisers hoped to use the Florida legislature’s session, which adjourned on May 5, as a springboard to a campaign announcement. They have stayed true to their timetable.
Republican lawmakers gave DeSantis a bevy of conservative victories in recent months: They expanded the state’s school voucher program, prohibited the use of public money in sustainable investing efforts, scrapped diversity programs at public universities, allowed for the permitless carry of concealed weapons and perhaps most notably, banned almost all abortions in the state.
DeSantis has had help in preparing the ground for his candidacy.
A new political action committee supporting him, Never Back Down, which can raise unlimited funds, has been hiring staff in early voting states and running TV ads championing DeSantis and knocking Trump.
DeSantis, 44, was re-elected as governor just last year, trouncing his Democratic opponent by nearly 20 percentage points.