Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis all but declared his presidential campaign during a donor call on Thursday, in which he slammed arch-rival Donald Trump as ineligible.
DeSantis rallied key supporters and donors on the conference call, during which he argued he was the only Republican with a chance of defeating President Joe Biden in the 2024 election.
DeSantis also took several veiled swipes at Trump, the current frontrunner in the GOP presidential primary, and hinted that the former president is putting himself before his party.
“There are some who fundraise just for themselves,” DeSantis said, according to a New York Times reporter listening to the call, an apparent reference to criticism that Trump’s PAC has racked up a midterm war chest and hasn’t done enough to support GOP candidates.
DeSantis will officially kick off his campaign by filing paperwork with the Federal Election Commission on May 24, with a more formal launch event scheduled around June 1. CBS News reported, citing three sources.
DeSantis is expected to officially announce he is running for President of the United States next week and has already shot rival Donald Trump in a call with donors
During a donor appeal, DeSantis also took several veiled jabs at Trump, the current frontrunner in the GOP presidential primary.
A spokeswoman for DeSantis did not immediately respond to a DailyMail.com request for comment Thursday evening.
During the call for donors, DeSantis said there were only three ‘credible’ candidates for the 2024 presidential race and he was the only one who could win both the GOP primary and the election. general.
“You basically have three people at this point who are credible in all of this,” DeSantis told donors on the call, hosted by his supporting super PAC, Never Back Down.
“Biden, Trump and me. And I think out of those three, two have a chance of being elected president – me and Biden, based on all the data in the swing states, which isn’t great for the former president and probably insurmountable because that people are not going to change their view of him,” he argued.
Biden officially announced on April 25 that he would seek a second term as president in the 2024 election.
Besides Trump, GOP candidates who have declared nominations include former UN ambassador Nikki Haley, former Arkansas governor Asa Hutchinson and businessman Vivek Ramaswamy.
US Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina also plans to officially announce his presidential campaign on Monday, a person familiar with the matter told DailyMail.com.
But once DeSantis declares, the top governor will immediately become Trump’s biggest rival in the primary race, shaking up a contest that has so far been largely one-sided.
Biden, seen on a visit to Japan on Thursday, formally announced on April 25 that he would seek a second term as president in the 2024 election.
Once DeSantis declares, the top-level governor will immediately become Trump’s biggest rival in the primary race, shaking up a contest that has so far been largely one-sided.
DeSantis will likely file documents declaring his candidacy before a key meeting with donors in Miami on May 25, due to election rules that require a candidate to officially declare himself before raising funds.
The invitation for the May 25 event said donors would be put to “work,” an apparent allusion to fundraising for DeSantis, according to a source familiar with the event.
In recent weeks, Trump has stepped up his political attacks on the Florida governor and maintains a decisive lead in the 2024 Republican primary, according to a recent Reuters/Ipsos poll.
DeSantis’ insistence on staying out of the race until the Florida legislature has finished its spring session earlier this month has rattled some high-profile Republican donors who had wanted him to step in as soon as possible. to refute Trump.
These attacks weighed on DeSantis’ standing in the national polls.
But when appealing to donors on Thursday, DeSantis suggested his ability to respond to attacks and criticism would soon change, a veiled reference to becoming a candidate.
Notably, DeSantis did not mention his escalating war with the Walt Disney Company during the call for donors, which came the same day Disney canceled plans for a new billion-dollar campus in the city. central Florida.
The Walt Disney Co. and its powerful CEO took its war with Florida Governor Ron DeSantis to a new level on Thursday, announcing it would ax a planned billion-dollar new Orlando campus (pictured below). above) that would have created 2,000 jobs in the state.
The project, first announced in July 2021, was expected to move 2,000 jobs from California to Lake Nona, which is about 20 miles east of the massive Disney World resort in Orlando.
In canceling the project and saying the 2,000 workers would stay in California, Disney in a memo cited “new leadership and changing business conditions,” in an apparent reference to returning CEO Bob Iger and his feud with DeSantis.
DeSantis and his advisers hoped to use the session of the Florida legislature, which adjourned on May 5, as a springboard for a campaign announcement. They stuck to their schedule.
Republican lawmakers have handed DeSantis a bevy of conservative victories in recent months: They’ve expanded the state’s school voucher program, banned the use of public money in sustainable investing efforts, scrapped diversity programs at public universities, allowed the unlicensed carry of concealed weapons and perhaps most notably, banned nearly all abortions in the state.
DeSantis had help laying the groundwork for his candidacy.
A new political action committee supporting him, Never Back Down, which can raise unlimited funds, has hired staff in early voting states and aired TV ads defending DeSantis and hitting Trump.
DeSantis, 44, won re-election as governor last year, beating his Democratic opponent by nearly 20 percentage points.