Ron DeSantis has been tip-toeing around the launch of a 2024 presidential campaign, including a publici– er, book tour, and meetings with donor groups and with other GOP politicians, but if he’s hoping to start collecting endorsements, he could be in for a serious disappointment.
DeSantis has been contacting other Republicans, but so far they’re not jumping on board.
The latest rejection (and a very gentle one) comes from Representative Lance Gooden (R-TX).
Gooden dropped a public statement saying that he’d met with the Florida Governor, and lauding him for his right-wing “accomplishments,” but that he still believes Donald Trump is the “only leader who can save America from the leftist onslaught.”
He also asserts that DeSantis himself acknowledges Trump as “the best candidate in 2024.”
That doesn’t sound much like what DeSantis has said in public comments, when he’s made jabs at the former president by boasting of his own re-election, suggesting the American people might prefer a government with “no daily drama,” and even mocking Trump’s indictment, saying, “I don’t know what goes into paying hush money to a porn star.”
Certainly DeSantis has not made any public statements endorsing Trump, and would not answer when, in a 2022 debate, he was questioned over whether he planned to fulfill his gubernatorial term or drop out to run for president.
Whether or not DeSantis supports Trump for 2024, Gooden has, along with his snub, painted the governor into a proverbial corner: does he let that statement on his own behalf stand, or deny it?
If he chooses to ignore it, he’s very likely to be pressed about it at some near-future point.
Nor is Gooden the only Republican denying DeSantis an endorsement.
Greg Steube (R-FL) said last week that DeSantis had reached out to him. At the time, he didn’t announce an endorsement, but on Monday he did — for Donald Trump, Newsweek reports.
He joins other prominent Republicans, including Anna Paulina Luna, Byron Donalds, and Matt Gaetz in choosing Trump over DeSantis.
Even without endorsements, other Republicans are slamming DeSantis and his overblown antics.
This week former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie (who has criticized Trump as well) also addressed the vendetta against Disney, saying that he just doesn’t consider DeSantis a conservative. (Clip below.)
Here’s Gooden’s endorsement, including his claim that DeSantis agrees that Trump is the 2024 choice.
New: After meeting with DeSantis, Rep. Lance Gooden announces he is endorsing Trump. pic.twitter.com/58ChbmJkeO
— Juliegrace Brufke (@juliegraceb) April 18, 2023
Here’s Christie, explaining why he doesn’t consider DeSantis a true conservative.
Chris Christie: “I don’t think Ron DeSantis is a conservative, based on his actions towards Disney.” pic.twitter.com/S1Hjz4vX7E
— Republican Accountability (@AccountableGOP) April 18, 2023