2024 Republican rivals warn Trump
Nikki Haley, Trump’s ambassador to the UN who said last year she wouldn’t show up if her former boss did, apparently had a change of heart. She used her Saturday night speech here to say she was considering running “in a serious way” and to call on “a younger generation to lead at all levels”.
Speeches by the 2024 hopefuls at the Venetian Resort here showed how little deference Trump receives following his campaign announcement last week. More and more, they see it as beatable. And its launch two years from the next election – with a special advocate now monitoring it – has created a significant and lasting goal for the list of alternatives.
“He won’t have the financial support he had, he won’t have the domestic support he had before,” said New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu, whose state is hosting the first GOP primary in country. “And so, there is an opportunity there. This political weakness is blood in the water for some people.
“Now he will still be a player, but he will only be one of a dozen,” added Sununu. “He’s not clearing the pitch in any way.”
Trump, of course, has been politically left for dead many times before. And despite the looming fire he faces, many Republicans see him as the early favorite to win the nomination. Some say the willingness of others to get in the race may well boost his chances, potentially creating a repeat of the 2016 primary, when he prevailed over a splintered field of Republican opponents.
Addressing the conference via video on Saturday, Trump was greeted with enthusiastic applause. Many pro-Israel participants consider the former president a hero for, among other things, his decision to move the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
At the same time, Republican donors, activists and strategists said the midterm elections had left Trump bruised and vulnerable – an invitation for his would-be successors to jump in.
While Pompeo has spent the past few years appearing before the Republican public in preparation for a 2024 candidacy, his remarks at the conference this weekend were perhaps the farthest he’s gone. Pompeo noted that he had been “loyal” throughout his tenure in the administration, but said his loyalty “was not to any person, party or faction” – a not-so-veiled reference to Trump.
He also suggested that Trump deserved some blame for the midterm failure, saying “personality and fame just aren’t going to make it happen. We can see that. The American people didn’t want to look back, they wanted to move forward. They care what happens tomorrow, not what happened yesterday.
Haley also put her to work. While the former UN ambassador and governor of South Carolina said no ‘no one’ deserved to be blamed for the midterms, she remarked that ‘we don’t need to no more politicians who just want to get on TV and talk about our problems.
Christie and Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, meanwhile, used their closed-door appearances Thursday night before a group of major donors to bully the former president. And in their public addresses on Saturday morning, Hogan argued that voters had “sent a clear message that they wanted to move on”, while Christie called on the party “to stop being afraid of anyone. “.
Two Republicans used their speeches to tease their candidacies. Haley told the crowd to cheers that she “never lost an election and I’m not going to start now.” And Florida Governor Ron DeSantis – Trump’s most formidable potential rival right now – concluded his Saturday night opening remarks by saying, “I can tell you this: we still have a lot to do and I have only just begun to fight.
Trump isn’t just facing resistance from Republicans looking to run. Several major donors who converged on the Las Vegas Strip over the weekend signaled they were also not prepared to back Trump again. Many said they wanted to hear from his potential opponents. Former Vice President Mike Pence used his time at the event to meet some of them, between his speech and a book signing.
It was the absence of a mega-donor, however, that was most telling. Miriam Adelson, the party’s most wanted contributor and the RJC’s most prominent supporter, has let it be known that she has no plans to get involved in the primary – for Trump or anyone else. Adelson — who, along with her late husband, casino billionaire Sheldon Adelson, were Trump’s biggest benefactors in the 2020 election — skipped this year’s event to take a trip to Israel.
This was seen as a tacit indication of his lack of interest in racing.
“No one has a monopoly on 2024 yet,” said RJC chief executive Matt Brooks, who has long been close to many of the party’s top donors. “Everyone wants to see where things are headed for the future. I think everyone has come to a point where they don’t want to look back, they want to look forward. »
“I think people are really window shopping,” Brooks added. “As far as people here, I think the field is wide open to gain support in 2024.”
DeSantis generated the most attention from the course of the event. After stepping onto the podium, attendees rushed to the stage to take photos of the newly re-elected governor.
Sununu, who held court in a fourth-floor conference room on Saturday, said New Hampshire voters were “open to alternatives” to Trump – and that DeSantis “could be” the state frontrunner.
“He’s not a fugitive, and he’s the fucking former president. How could that be?” Sununu said of Trump. “If you’re a former president and you don’t clear the playing field, what the fuck are you doing?”