Resolute: UPDATE: Ron DeSantis Drops Out of Race, Endorses Trump

Gov. Ron DeSantis, wife Casey and their two adorable children campaigning in Iowa back in November.

By Al Perrotta Published on January 21, 2024

New Hampshire primary kicks off in less than 36 hours, and Gov. Ron DeSantis is heading back to Florida. The people are set to speak in the Granite State, and we are Resolute.

UPDATE: Gov. Ron DeSantis Has Dropped Out of the Race for the GOP Nomination, Endorses Donald Trump

Gov. Ron DeSantis, looking happier and more relaxed than he has in a year … in fact, as giddy as a game show host … announced he’s suspended his 2024 campaign, and that he is endorsing former President Trump.

Shortly before 3 p.m. he released this statement on X saying “We have prayed and deliberated on a way forward. But I can’t ask our supporters to volunteer their time and donate their resources if we do not have a clear path to victory.”  

“Now, it’s clear to me that a majority of Republican primary voters want to give Donald Trump another chance. 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 repacked form of warmed-over corporatism that Nikki Haley represents.” 

He ended by quoting Winston Churchill: “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”

Trump has thus far reacted with a short statement to Fox Digital: “Very honored to have his endorsement. I look forward to working together with him to beat Joe Biden, who is the worst and most corrupt president in the history of our country.”

We can expect a more … uh … “expanded” reaction at his campaign event tonight in Rochester, New Hampshire. 

We will update with reaction here and on the Brew. 

Not His Time

One thing we will add. We wrote on the day he entered the race that DeSantis was facing a near impossible task. Trump’s only real opponent is always Trump. And in the battle for the “Not Trump” vote, DeSantis was going to have his hands full with Nikki Haley. And of course, there was no way to be the “Not Trump” without alienating all the Trump voters he’d need. In 2022, when DeSantis was weighing a run, I speculated on the wisdom of waiting. I really thought he’d sit it out, but those convincing him otherwise obviously won out. 

Running for president is a brutal, all-consuming thing. You have to be convinced you are the guy and this is your time. I was at an event in ’86 where Mario Cuomo, the beloved NY governor and supposed shoo-in, was asked why he didn’t run in ’84 and wasn’t planning to run in ’88. He said, “I just didn’t have the fire in my belly.” He said when he ran for governor he knew he was the best man for the job. The only one for the job. He had to do it. When it came to the presidency, he just didn’t feel that way. 

For that matter, people forget that Donald Trump was hounded for years to run for president … oddly enough by Democrats. Trump said he wasn’t that interested, but “Maybe someday, if I feel that I have no choice.” 

Ron DeSantis has a lot of people telling him right now that he’s The Man. He’s got to run. Seems clear enough that he has an ambition to be president some day. But is 2024 the time? Does he have no choice?

I wonder: Does Ron DeSantis in his heart really want to pull himself away from his beautiful wife and little children so soon after the family’s battle with cancer to spend the next two years on the road doing what it takes to conduct a presidential campaign? Does he really want to leave them and the warmth of Florida to pound the frigid pavements of Iowa and New Hampshire, in a brutal, bloody dog-fight with Trump for months on end? Does he want to fight his way through the ire of hard-core Trump supporters upset that he’s challenging Trump with the help of those who’ve spent seven years trying to destroy him and push them aside? Does he want to expose his kids at such a tender age to the searing crucible of the White House should he win? All when he doesn’t have to?

Or would he rather take a breath after the cancer scare, continue building up Florida and building up like-minded candidates, work on the foreign policy part of his game, give the kids four more years to grow before hitting the road, earn the loyalty of the MAGA Army in the role of heir apparent, and be handed the 2028 nomination on a platter? Or at the very least have an easier go of it. 

I could be wrong, but I suspect in the end DeSantis’ heart and brain will both say “Leave 2024 alone. This is not the time.”

Perhaps this is the most simple way to explain what happened to DeSantis. Like Cuomo, he really didn’t have the fire in his belly. The conviction in his gut that he was The Guy for 2024. And for all his hustle around Iowa’s 99 counties, voters picked up on his discomfort. 

Working on Puzzles, Not the Presidential Race?

Books will be written on the missteps of DeSantis’ campaign operation. Take this: The CEO of his super-PAC spent an inordinate amount of time working on a puzzle in the days before the Iowa caucus!

That story kicks off a withering article  on the DeSantis campaign posted Sunday by NBC News. It’s almost ghoulish. While the signs and situation suggested Ron’s race was run, NBC News quotes a former member of the Never Give Up PAC as arguing that DeSantis should stay in and … in essence, hope Trump is thrown in jail or drops dead.

“Their path forward is to stay in, and hope that something either legally, or from a health perspective, occurs that removes Trump from the race.”

What next? Changing the American symbol from the American eagle to a vulture?

Haley Likely Not to Be Trump’s VP Nominee … Not That She Wants the Gig

Back a few weeks ago Trump was quietly floating the idea of Nikki Haley being his running mate. (He has always seemed to have a soft spot for her.) Unlike the Chinese spy balloon, that balloon was shot down before it could do much damage. And Friday night in Concord, Trump all but eliminated the possibility.

After ragging on her in typical Trump fashion for not being tough enough, smart enough, respected enough to do the job, he said, “She’s okay, but she is not presidential timber. When I say that, that probably means that she’s not going to be chosen as the vice president.”

Wait. You chose a vice president because he’s ready to be president? And not because of her sex and color of her skin? Stop the presses!

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Haley says she wouldn’t want the job anyway. “I don’t want to be anybody’s vice president. That is off the table,” Haley said in Iowa. “I have always said that. That is a game they play that I’m not going to play.”

But in the game she is playing, we have to drop a yellow flag. 

Haley Responds to Adultery Allegations … by Booting Out Reporters from Paper That Reported the Allegations

The Daily Mail last week published a story, including sworn affidavits, alleging Nikki Haley engaged in a couple affairs before becoming governor. The allegations are nothing new; voters in South Carolina knew all about it and her “100%” denials and elected her … and, really, it’s not as if rival Donald Trump is in any position to throw stones. Besides her marriage today seems to be strong. What is interesting today is her response:  She booted all Daily Mail reporters from any further campaign events.

Your instinct is to silence and punish the press over a damaging story? Whaddaya gonna do when there’s a whole room full of White House correspondents trying to slice you up?

Latest Polling Out of New Hampshire

With 36 hours to go, a new CNN poll out Sunday shows former President Trump now garnering 50% support in the Granite State, his lead over Nikki Haley now in double digits. Haley is at 39% support, with DeSantis at 6%. Haley’s running strong with “undeclared” voters … what other states call “independent” voters … who are allowed to vote in the GOP primary. 

Democratic donors have been pouring money into Haley’s campaign in an effort to topple Trump in New Hampshire. If the polls hold, they might as well have invested their money Dallas Cowboy 2024 Super Bowl memorabilia.

A Couple Campaign Chuckles

We like to leave you with a couple of giggles.

It stinks being the guy tasked with spinning for a candidate who is spinning out of control. Take Rep. Jim Clyburn of South Carolina. He was asked about all the polls showing Biden hemorrhaging black support. The Honorable Rep. Clyburn denies it’s happening. That you expect. But then he lists his source: his three daughters.

“I don’t believe them because I talk to Black people all the time. I have three Black daughters. They tell me differently!”

No doubt they are lovely ladies. And loving daughters. “Do your friends still like my friend Joe?” “Oh, sure, Dad, sure!”

Meanwhile, if Joe Biden loses the election, he can always launch a dating podcast:

 

Al Perrotta is the Managing Editor of The Stream, co-author, with John Zmirak, of The Politically Incorrect Guide to Immigration and co-author of the counter-terrorism memoir Hostile Intent: Protecting Yourself Against Terrorism.

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