Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, one of the two remaining challengers to former President Donald Trump, dropped out of the presidential race on Sunday, before the New Hampshire primary, and endorsed Trump.
In a video DeSantis released from Florida on Sunday afternoon, he endorsed Trump over the last challenger—former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley—saying that while he has disagreements with Trump he thinks Trump is better than Haley and certainly better than Democrat President Joe Biden.
Watch the video here:
“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”
– Winston Churchill pic.twitter.com/ECoR8YeiMm
— Ron DeSantis (@RonDeSantis) January 21, 2024
In the video, DeSantis said that after his second-place finish in Iowa–he finished ahead of Haley but far behind Trump–he and his family and team have “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,” DeSantis said. “But I can’t ask our supporters to volunteer their time and donate their resources if we don’t have a clear path to victory. Accordingly, I am today suspending my campaign.”
Seconds later, DeSantis formally endorsed Trump.
“It’s clear to me that a majority of Republican primary voters want to give Donald Trump another chance,” DeSantis said. “They watched his presidency get stymied by relentless resistance and they see Democrats using lawfare to this day to attack him. While I have had disagreements with Donald Trump, such as on the coronavirus pandemic and his elevation of Anthony Fauci, Trump is superior to the current incumbent, Joe Biden. 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 — a repackaged form of warmed-over corporatism — that Nikki Haley represents. The days of putting Americans last, of kowtowing to large corporations, of caving to woke ideology, are over.”
Top Republicans close to Trump are beginning to react to the news as well, with Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN)–an early Trump endorser who just this weekend on Breitbart News Saturday on SiriusXM 125 the Patriot Channel called on DeSantis and Haley to drop out so Republicans can unify behind Trump–praising DeSantis for the move:
— Marsha Blackburn (@VoteMarsha) January 21, 2024
Blackburn was one of many pushing the unity call this weekend:
— Marsha Blackburn (@VoteMarsha) January 20, 2024
DeSantis’s exit from the race leaves one remaining serious challenger to Trump in the field: Haley. Things between Trump and Haley have been intensifying ahead of New Hampshire’s GOP primary on Tuesday, and a strong Trump performance there–as polls indicate is likely–could finish her off quickly and early, before the race turns next to Nevada and then to South Carolina. Haley is not even going to compete in the Nevada caucuses, which means DeSantis’s exit from the field essentially ensures a unanimous Trump victory there as only one other candidate–Ryan Binkley, who got slightly more votes than former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson in Iowa’s caucuses–is competing in Nevada. What this all means is Tuesday’s New Hampshire primary essentially becomes do-or-die for Haley, in that she must defeat Trump and win the primary outright to have a path forward for her campaign.
That development is bad news for Haley’s prospects given the fact that her top Granite State surrogate Gov. Chris Sununu has been publicly aggressively lowering expectations for Haley there, arguing that her finishing in second place is good for her. That is clearly no longer the case, and the possibility of a path for anyone to stop Trump from winning the GOP nomination and wrapping it up very soon is becoming essentially non-existent at this stage.