Former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows said that Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) would abstain from running for president in 2024 if former President Donald Trump opts to run.
“I think Ron DeSantis is identified across the country now for the courage that he shows for conservative solutions, and he would be the first to say that if President Trump gets in, that he would win the nomination and would clear the field, and so I don’t ever see it being a 2016 primary scenario,” Meadows said in an interview with The Washington Examiner. “That being said, Gov. DeSantis won’t even — he’s asked over and over and over again every time I’m in his presence — he’s been asked, ‘Are you running in 2024?’
“His answer has been consistent,” Meadows said. “He is running for reelection for governor of the state that not only he loves, but one that is, quite frankly, well-run because of his leadership.”
Early indicators have suggested DeSantis would be a 2024 favorite among Republican activists if Trump doesn’t run. A February poll conducted at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference found 55 percent of attendees saying they favored Trump, while 22 percent said DeSantis would be their top choice. DeSantis managed to flip the table and edge Trump out by a small margin in a poll conducted of attendees at the Western Conservative Summit over the weekend, with 74 percent saying they “approved” of DeSantis as a 2024 candidate and 71 percent saying the same of Trump. Voters in that poll were not forced to select their top candidate.
DeSantis is running for reelection in 2022, which means he is planning to remain Florida’s governor until 2026 in the absence of a run for the White House. Meadows had previously predicted the 75-year-old Trump would run again in 2024, but voiced a more cautious tone on Monday, saying not to “anticipate the announcement … in the next 30 to 60 days.”
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