Leading Republican figures on Wednesday tried to downplay Donald Trump’s official entry into the 2024 presidential race, arguing that there were more important matters to attend to as GOP leaders dealt with the repercussions of a significant midterm defeat.
When questioned about a potential GOP split at a press conference the morning after Trump’s announcement, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis responded that it was too early for Republicans to concentrate on the upcoming presidential election.
DeSantis, a prospective challenger to Trump in 2024, declined to mention the former president by name and stated that he focused on Georgia’s forthcoming Senate contest and his governing agenda in Florida.
“We just finished this election. People need to chill out a little bit on some of this stuff, I mean, seriously,” DeSantis said.
The 44-year-old Republican governor continued: “At the end of the day, it’s been a long election, we’ve got the Georgia runoff, but for me, it’s like, OK, what more do we need to do to continue to make Florida lead the way? We’re going to be focusing on that.”
Leading Republicans in Ohio, New Hampshire, and Washington echoed the view as the GOP struggled to deal with mounting internal tensions and concerns about its future in the wake of a dismal midterm election campaign.
According to history, the Republicans should have made significant gains last week, but instead, Trump supporters were rejected in several pivotal states, depriving party leaders of the expected sweeping victory.
Republicans are one seat short of capturing a razor-thin House majority, while Democrats maintained control of the Senate.
When asked about Trump’s statement on Wednesday at the Republican Governors Association gathering in Orlando, Ohio, Governor Mike DeWine dodged the topic.
DeWine entered a conference on “The Future of the GOP” and said, “It’s a little early to be commenting on the presidential election.”
DeWine, who won his reelection by 25 points after rejecting Trump’s claims about the 2020 election, said, “We are still trying to understand what happened a week ago.”
However, despite the fact that the first battles of the upcoming presidential primary season are most likely more than a year away, Trump won’t make it simple for his party to overlook 2024.
In front of several hundred fans, Trump announced his third presidential run on Tuesday night in a ballroom at his Mar-a-Lago club. Even so, the political parties have not decided when their primary elections will occur.