Donald Trump on Monday rejected the idea of debating his three rivals for the Republican presidential nomination, and said he would not give low-level opponents political power.
& # 39; I don't even know who they are, & # 39; Trump told DailyMail.com of the trio that he had hours & # 39; The Three Stooges & # 39; had synchronized on Twitter.
Scandal-ridden former South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford entered the field on Sunday, along with former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld and former Illinois Rep. Joe Walsh in the anti-Trump intramural competition.
& # 39; They are all less than 1 percent. I think it's a publicity stunt, & T 39 mocked when he left the White House for a political meeting in North Carolina.
He claimed to have a 94 percent approval rate among Republicans, and repeated a frequent bragging that the White House has yet to substantiate. The most recent poll on the subject, from Monmouth University, found that 84 percent of Republicans approved Trump's work.
But as 2020 approaches, Trump and his political machine don't want the distraction of a bruising primary fight.
President Donald Trump on Monday rejected the idea of debating his three Republican presidential challengers, saying he does not want to give credibility to their long-term bids
Trump named his GOP competition & # 39; The Three Stooges & # 39; and named them after the incapable cartoon characters in the TV series from the 1950s
& # 39; Frankly, I don't want to give them any credibility & # 39 ;, he said Monday and called his three challengers & # 39; a total joke & # 39; and & # 39; a laugh & # 39 ;.
Trump also shrugged reports that four Republican state committees have canceled their primary elections and say they do not want to waste their money & # 39 ;.
& # 39; If there was a race, they would definitely want to do that & # 39 ;, he said, saying primary elections & # 39; very expensive & # 39; to be.
Despite protesting that he does not know who his three GOP opponents are, he identified Weld as & # 39; a person who voted for Obama, ran as vice-president four years ago and was defeated properly & # 39 ;.
Weld was the running partner of Libertarian Party presidential candidate Gary Johnson in 2016.
& # 39; Another was thrown away in Congress after a term and he lost in a landslide & # 39 ;, Trump said about Walsh.
And Sanford, Trump remembered, & was not on the Appalachian Trail. He was in Argentina. & # 39;
That was a prod in Sanford about the affair scandal that defined his political career.
The president claimed that he had a 94 percent approval rate within the Republican Party, a number higher than the published polls
The president already needed Sanford on Twitter on Monday morning.
& # 39; When the former Governor of the Great State of South Carolina, @ MarkSanford, was reported missing, only to say he was away on the Appalachian Trail when he was found in Argentina with his friend Flaming Dancer , it sounded like his political career was over. That was it, & he tweeted.
All three of Trump's challengers face long chances of beating the president.
Trump has the support of the GOP and its in-depth fundraising operation, which will raise $ 105 million in the second quarter of 2019.
Sanford became the subject of national ridicule in June 2009, while he was Governor of South Carolina, when his staff could not find him for four days and his family did not know where he was.
He told people that he was going hiking on the Appalachian Trail but later admitted that he was in Argentina with his mistress.
In the waiting fallout, his wife Jenny divorced him and the South Carolina legislature censored him. He later became engaged to his mistress, María Belén Chapur, but that ended in a public breach in 2014, when Sanford wrote a Facebook message of 2,400 words about the status of their relationship.
He returned politically in 2013 when he won a special election for the Lower House.
Mark Sanford, known for his & # 39; Appalachian Trail & # 39; cheat scandal, joined the GOP primary Sunday
Sanford, who supported the 2016 Trump campaign, later criticized the president's immigration policy and encouraged Trump to release his tax return.
The president turned against him in the 2018 primary and Sanford lost to a GOP challenger after Trump lobbied him a personal attack hours before the polls closed.
At the time, President Sanford threw as & # 39; very useless for me in my campaign & # 39; and & # 39; nothing but problems & # 39 ;. He mocked Sanford's political scandal and claimed that he had disappeared for the & # 39; Tallahassee Trail & # 39; to walk, incorrectly stating the name of the footpath.
Sanford is preparing for a presidential bid since July, but told DailyMail.com in a phone call on Sunday that he does not yet have campaign staff or national infrastructure.
& # 39; I just take it one by one every day. This is a daunting task. I have acknowledged – I get all the different things that make Herculean, and David and Goliath and all that kind of thing, & he said. & # 39; But you know, all you can do is what you can do, and today it was about planting a flag. & # 39;
But Sanford, Walsh and Weld have great opportunities.
It is difficult to drop an incumbent in a primary and Trump is helped by the fact that four states will cancel their caucuses and primaries – guaranteeing them their delegates without having to compete.
The state Republican parties in Arizona, South Carolina and Kansas are on their way to cancel their primary in 2020, and Nevada is on its way to get its caucus.
The efforts are part of an attempt to set the table for a smooth Trump re-nomination at the GOP & # 39; s national convention in Charlotte, four years after he came to power in part through the & # 39; rigged & # 39; political system.
Sanford told DailyMail.com that South Carolina's decision to cancel the election is particularly worrying, given its status as one of the first states to vote every presidential cycle.
Former American representative from Illinois Joe Walsh (left) and former Massachusetts governor Bill Weld (right) announced earlier this summer that they are active in the 2020 Republican
& # 39; It is what it is. But it certainly does not indicate strength, & he offered. & # 39; Again, it was not decisive for us in the end. What we hope to promote is a much larger national debate. & # 39;
Walsh also annulled the decision to cancel primaries and caucuses.
The former Congressman from Illinois tweeted Friday: & # 39; So to protect their king, the Republican party is actually going to eliminate elections. Defend these Trump supporters. I dare you. & # 39;
He added another tweet: & # 39; Remember all those times in 2016 when Donald Trump accused Democrats of running the system & # 39; rigging & # 39; to ensure that Hillary was nominated? I do. Well look here … the lying hypocrite tries to "rig" the system in 2020. & # 39;
Trump has built up a huge lead among Republicans in opinion polls. He leads his Weld, his biggest challenger, with 83 to 17 percent in the latest Emerson survey.
Weld has also canceled the cancellation, saying that the country does not elect President & # 39; by acclimation & # 39 ;.
He tweeted on Friday: & # 39; Donald Trump, alternately arrogant and paranoid, has made no secret of the fact that he wants to be crowned as president rather than elected. Perhaps that is good in a monarchy, but we collapsed ours two centuries ago. & # 39;
The movements are not unprecedented. South Carolina also had no primaries in 1984 and 2004, when Presidents Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush were looking for re-election.
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