As America watches the ongoing public hearings being held by the House select committee on the Jan. 6 insurrection, twice-impeached former President Donald Trump has been chomping at the bit to announce his 2024 bid for the presidency—and he wants to do it on Gov. Ron DeSantis’ home turf, all to prove who’s the big dog in the GOP.
Three sources close to Trump, who chose not to be named by Rolling Stone Magazine, said the former president is desperate to announce his run before the midterms—possibly on July 4. With all the pomp and circumstance (even fireworks), Trump is looking to launch at a location near the Florida governor’s mansion to show DeSantis, 43, “who the boss is” in the Republican party.
“One time that he did bring up the Florida [launch] scenario was quickly followed by him commenting on how terrible DeSantis was at public speaking and commanding an audience … [and that he’s] lacking in so much charisma and he’s so boring that Florida Republicans would leave Ron immediately for Trump [in a 2024 match-up],” an unnamed source told Rolling Stone.
RELATED STORY: Despite overwhelming evidence of guilt, the DOJ has a tough decision around prosecuting Trump
Although Trump remains the firm favorite among Republicans and no one in the GOP has officially declared a presidential run, a few current and former politicians have been making moves. The Washington Post reports that former Vice President Mike Pence has met with donors, including the DeVos family. Sen. Tom Cotton has put together a plan for donors on how to run a winning campaign. And DeSantis is working with advisers on his 2022 reelection and how to jockey his margins into a successful 2024 presidential run.
Listen and subscribe to Daily Kos Elections’ The Downballot podcast with David Nir and David Beard
In an interview with Insider Monday, Sam Nunberg, who advised Trump's 2016 presidential campaign, said, "The reality is that the Republican nominee in 2024 with either be Donald Trump or Ron DeSantis, with the caveat that Tucker Carlson would not enter the race.”
But the question remains: How well would Trump do? And can he run at all? Of course, the game changes if the former president has charges filed against him by the U.S. Department of Justice.
John McLaughlin, a top Trump pollster, tells Rolling Stone that “According to our last national poll, Republican primary voters would support President Trump 83-14, and in a field of 13 potential opponents, no one comes close. … Trump 57%. DeSantis 15%. Everyone else [is at] single digits.”
Darren Blanton, a Dallas-based venture capitalist who served as an adviser to Trump’s transition, told the Post he’d bet money on DeSantis as the “only one besides Trump who has a chance in hell.”
“At first, I thought DeSantis had no chance because he seemed more like an introvert and strategist, but not a charismatic celebrity, and I pretty much told him that to his face. But he has really impressed me by how much better he has gotten.”
This is the sort of momentum Trump is likely hoping to stop before it starts. The only problem is that Trump was president on Jan. 6, and the “Big Lie” is being unraveled day by day—not to mention all of his other culpabilities, big and small.
Trump may love a good rally, but that doesn’t mean he’ll ever step foot inside the White House again.