Trump won't commit to supporting 2024 Republican presidential nominee if it's not him
Published in Political News
Former President Donald Trump on Thursday refused to commit to supporting the 2024 Republican presidential nominee — if he doesn’t win it.
“It would depend. I would give you the same answer I gave in 2016,” Trump said in an interview with conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt. “It would have to depend on who the nominee was.”
The GOP needs a unified base of support to unseat President Joe Biden, who is expected to announce his own reelection bid soon.
The worst-case scenario for Republicans would be a losing Trump launching a third-party or independent bid, which would siphon votes away from the GOP nominee and help Democrats.
Trump also unloaded on Florida Gov. DeSantis, who has emerged as his most potent potential presidential rival, saying that DeSantis “begged me” for an endorsement in his hard-fought 2018 Republican primary.
“(DeSantis) begged me, begged me, for an endorsement,” Trump told Hewitt. “He was getting ready to drop out.”
“There were tears coming down from his eyes,” Trump added. “He said, ‘If you endorse me, I’ll win.’ So I end up doing it, and he wins.”
Trump is the only announced candidate for the Republican nomination so far. But others are poised to jump into the race including Trump’s former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, who’s planning a Feb. 15 special announcement.
After a slow start to his campaign, Trump has unleashed a string of attacks on DeSantis.
Trump has slammed DeSantis for not being a staunch enough opponent of COVID-19 lockdowns and vaccine mandates.
He brands him a "Republican in name only," or RINO, and a “globalist,” a negative buzzword on the far right.
DeSantis has mostly kept his powder dry and hasn't criticized Trump by name. But he does regularly remind Republicans that he won reelection in a landslide victory in 2022 at the same time as Trump’s handpicked right-wing candidates mostly fell to Democrats.
In 2016, Trump refused to agree to back the GOP nominee in bitter Republican primary debates as he first ran for the White House.
After winning the Republican nod, he got the support of almost all his opponents, including onetime fierce rival Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, and went on to score an Electoral College win over Democrat Hillary Clinton.
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