Mulvaney: DeSantis, The Rock, Tim Scott could give Trump a ‘run for his money’
Mick Mulvaney, former President Trump’s onetime chief of staff, said Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis could give Trump a run for his money in a hypothetical 2024 Republican primary match-up.
“It is a short list,” Mulvaney told Politico, who first reported on the comments, of people who could potentially challenge the former president. Along with DeSantis, Mulvaney mentioned Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) as possible challengers.
Among the trio, DeSantis stands out as Trump’s most loyal ally. Seen as a front-runner for 2024, rumors have swirled that the seemingly friendly relationship between Trump and DeSantis has deteriorated since DeSantis became a rising star of the GOP, gaining popularity among the Trump base for his fight against COVID-19 restrictions and his “Don’t Say Gay” bill.
DeSantis pulling supporters from Trump’s base could pose a problem for the former president as he flirts with another White House campaign. And Trump has been hesitant to endorse DeSantis’s reelection campaign, which could risk amplifying his potential opponent even more.
Earlier this month, Trump waved off the possibility that DeSantis would challenge him in 2024 and took credit for his initial success.
“You know Ron was at 3 percent, and the day I endorsed him, he won the race,” Trump told The Washington Post, referring to DeSantis’s first bid for governor. “Some out of loyalty would have a hard time running.”
The rumored rocky relationship is reminiscent of the one between Trump and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas). The pair were the last two standing in the 2016 Republican presidential primary, and while Trump took heat from other GOP contenders, like former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who called Trump a “cancer on conservatism,” Cruz appeared with Trump at rallies, and the two avoided attacking each other on-stage at first.
“We both went out of our way to be nice to each other, and we were appealing to the same core voters: working-class Americans fed up with the Washington swamp,” Cruz has said of his early relationship with Trump, but it became rocky when Cruz won the Iowa caucuses.
While DeSantis hasn’t said if he will run in 2024, early polling shows him in second place among possible GOP hopefuls, trailing behind Trump. If Trump is absent from the ballot, DeSantis is the apparent favorite.
Scott, the only Black Senate Republican, has flirted with the idea of running for president but also has hinted that he could be Trump’s running mate. He told Fox News, “Everybody wants to be on President Trump’s bandwagon, without any question.”
Johnson has also made waves before for saying that he would consider running for office, but he has not made any announcements or indications that his eyes are on 2024.
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