Some politicians once considered among former President Donald Trump’s top allies have either turned on him or are holding back their support as the 45th commander in chief gears up for a third White House bid in 2024.
The news comes after three billionaire Republican megadonors — Stephen Schwarzman, Ronald Lauder, and Ken Griffin — have all announced in recent days that they will not support Trump’s 2024 campaign and that they will be backing someone else in the party’s presidential primary.
South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem said at a Republican Governors Association meeting in Orlando this week that Trump does not offer Republicans “the best chance” to win in 2024.
“If we narrow our focus there, then we’re not talking to every single American,” Noem said, according to The New York Times. “Our job is not just to talk to people who love Trump or hate Trump. Our job is to talk to every single American.”
A spokesperson for Noem disputed the Times’ reporting, saying that it was a “false narrative” and that they took her “comments out of context.”
In the same interview, Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL), who is in the MAGA-wing of the Republican Party, also took a shot at the former president, saying he believed there would be better candidates in 2024.
Politico reported that at the Orlando gathering, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis was the main focus for those in attendance as he challenged the idea that Republicans can’t compete with the election tactics of Democrats.
DeSantis, who last week won his re-election bid by a margin of nearly 20% even as Republicans nationwide had a disappointing showing, noted that he encouraged his supporters to use mail-in voting. He also argued that the GOP can appeal to suburban and rural communities at the same time, pointing out that he performed well in suburban communities even while scoring “Saddam Hussein margins” in rural communities, some of which he won by as many as 84 points.
Other Republican governors in attendance steered clear of Trump talk, even those who had just been endorsed by Trump in the midterms and won.
“I’m not going there,” said Ohio Governor Mike DeWine.
Nevada Governor-elect Joe Lombardo said, “I’m not doing an interview, thanks.”
New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu questioned Trump’s decision to announce his campaign so early, saying that Trump was “at his weakest point politically.”
“Think about that. You’re the former president,” he said. “You’re as weak as you’ve ever been politically. You’re not even necessarily the frontrunner.”
Still, several Republicans have endorsed Trump in his new bid for the White House, including Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-AL), Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA), Rep. Mary Miller (R-IL), Rep. Troy Nehls (R-TX), and Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY).