Leading Republicans try to ignore Trump campaign launch

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TALLAHASSEE, Florida (AP) — Leading Republican officials tried to ignore Donald Trump’s formal move on Wednesday in the 2024 presidential contest, insisting there were more pressing priorities as GOP leaders grappled with the fallout from a major mid-term disappointment.

Gov. of Florida, Ron DeSantis said it was far too early for Republicans to focus on the next presidential election when asked about a growing GOP gap at a news conference the morning after Trump’s announcement. DeSantis, a potential rival to Trump in 2024, declined to name the former president, saying he was instead focusing on the upcoming Georgia Senate election and his Florida government priorities.

“We just finished this election. People have to relax a little bit on some of these things, I mean seriously,” DeSantis said. The 44-year-old Republican governor continued: “Ultimately it’s been a long election, we’ve got the second round in Georgia, but to me it’s like, OK, what else do we need to do to continue to keep Florida ahead? That is what we will focus on.”

The sentiment was echoed by leading Republicans in Ohio, New Hampshire and Washington as the GOP grappled with rising internal tensions and questions about its future after a deeply disappointing midterm cycle. History suggested that Republicans should have celebrated huge gains last week, but the landslide victory party leaders predicted did not materialize as Trump loyalists were defeated in several swing states.

Democrats held the Senatewhile the Republicans won a razor-thin majority in the House Wednesday.

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine dismissed a question Wednesday about Trump’s announcement at the Republican Association of Governors meeting in Orlando.

“It’s a little early to comment on the presidential race,” DeWine said as he walked into a forum on “The Future of the GOP.”

“We’re still trying to analyze what happened a week ago,” said DeWine, who won his reelection by 25 points after refusing to embrace Trump’s lies about the 2020 election.

However, Trump won’t make it easy for his party to ignore 2024, even with the opening games of the next presidential primary season likely more than a year away.

Trump launched his third presidential bid Tuesday night before an audience of several hundred supporters in a chandeliered ballroom at his Mar-a-Lago club. That is even if the political parties have yet to determine their primary voting calendars.

“America’s comeback begins now,” Trump said.

The former president, who sparked a deadly uprising after losing his 2020 re-election bid, hoped to launch his 2024 campaign in the glow of resounding GOP interim victories. Instead, he entered the race in a moment of deep political fragility following a string of consecutive losses many party leaders blamed on him.

Top Republican candidates for the Senate and governors in Arizona, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin who parroted Trump’s baseless conspiracy theories about the 2020 election were defeated.

Meanwhile, DeSantis won his reelection by nearly 20 points in what has historically been a swing state. With partisan activists openly encouraging DeSantis to seek the presidency, Trump has become increasingly critical of the Florida governor in recent weeks — even revealing a new nickname: Ron DeSanctimonious.

Asked about Trump’s barbs on Monday, DeSantis joked, “Watch the scoreboard.”

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, increasingly a Trump critic, declined to comment on the early 2024 debate when asked, though he acknowledged that the GOP “knocked out many of these centrist voters” in the midterm elections of 2024. 2022.

“The way I’m going into this presidential primary season is to stay out of it. I don’t have a dog in that fight,” McConnell said.

On the other side of the Capitol, House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy, a Trump loyalist who hopes to become the speaker of the House if the GOP seizes the majority of that room, walked away from reporters on Wednesday when asked whether he would support Trump’s bid in 2024.

Still, a handful of Republican elected officials have already endorsed Trump’s nascent campaign — among them House Republican Conference Speaker Rep. Elisa Stefanik, RN.Y., and Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga.

In New Hampshire, which is poised to host the GOP’s first presidential election in 2024, Gov. Chris Sununu predicted that few would pay attention to Trump’s announcement anytime soon.

“He’s not going to clear the field,” Sununu told Fox News, refusing to rule out a 2024 presidential run of his own.

Sununu, a Republican, won his reelection by more than 15 points after standing against Trump’s election lies. At the same time, New Hampshire Republican senate candidate Don Bolduc, a Trump loyalist, lost by 9 points.

“You could say he’s never been weaker politically,” Sununu said of Trump. “It’s really an announcement from a defensive position. That’s why I think it’s going to make something new and we’ll all move forward. There will still be a lot of people competing in this race – probably not until late ’23.

Conservative media outlets have also been cool to Trump’s political ambitions for 2024.

The New York Post, one of Trump’s favorite hometown newspapers, marked the launch of Trump’s campaign with just this line at the very bottom of the front page: “Florida man makes announcement.”

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Nations reported from New York. AP writers Mike Schneider in Orlando, Farnoush Amiri, and Lisa Mascaro in Washington contributed.

The Valley Voice
The Valley Voicehttp://thevalleyvoice.org
Christopher Brito is a social media producer and trending writer for The Valley Voice, with a focus on sports and stories related to race and culture.

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