Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has dropped out of the 2024 presidential race and endorsed Donald Trump.
The following is a rush transcript of the Florida governor’s remarks:
Greetings from Florida. The warmth of being home is a reminder why I’ve chosen public service from joining the United States Navy and serving in Iraq to representing the people in the US Congress and now serving as Governor of Florida. And it reminds me why I decided to run for president to fight for those who’ve been forgotten in this country. This is America’s time for choosing. We can choose to allow a border invasion or we can choose to stop it. We can choose reckless borrowing and spending, or we can choose to limit government and lower inflation. We can choose political indoctrination or we can choose classical education. These choices are symptoms of the underlying struggle to ensure that constitutional government can endure and that Western civilization can survive. And we launched this campaign to bring accountability to government, regain sovereignty at our border, and restore sanity to our society.
We cannot succeed as a country if we allow our nation to be invaded, our currency to be debased, our cities to crumble and our kids to be indoctrinated. The DC elites who facilitated this mess do not care about you and they do not work for you. They work for themselves. They seek to accumulate power at your expense to pursue an agenda that is harmful to the American people. Citizens do not serve politicians. It is the duty of politicians to serve you. Talk is cheap. Actions speak louder than words. Reversing the decline of this nation requires leadership that delivers big results for the people we are elected to serve. I have a record of leading with conviction, championing an agenda marked by bold colors, delivering on my promises and defeating the people who are responsible for our nation’s decline. That is the type of leadership we need for all of America.
Now, over the past many months, Casey and I have traveled across the country to deliver a message of hope that decline is a choice, and that we can in fact succeed again as a nation. Nobody worked harder and we left it all out on the field. Now, following our second place finish in Iowa, we’ve prayed and deliberated on the way forward. If there was anything I could do to produce a favorable outcome, more campaign stops, more interviews, I would do it. But I can’t ask our supporters to volunteer their time and donate their resources if we don’t have a clear path to victory. Accordingly, I am today suspending my campaign. I’m proud to have delivered on 100% of my promises and I will not stop. Now, it’s clear to me that a majority of Republican primary voters want to give Donald Trump another chance. They watch his presidency get stymied by relentless resistance and they see Democrats using lawfare this day to attack him. I’ve had disagreements with Donald Trump, such as on the Coronavirus Pandemic and his elevation of Anthony Fauci. Trump is superior to the current incumbent, Joe Biden. That is clear.
I signed a pledge to support the Republican nominee and I will honor that pledge. He has my endorsement because we can’t go back to the old Republican guard of yesteryear. A repackaged form of warmed over corporatism that Nikki Haley represents. The days of putting Americans last, of kowtowing to large corporations, of caving to Woke ideology, are over. I thank all of our passionate supporters who’ve stood by us through it, all that we had people volunteer to come to Iowa in the middle of a blizzard to knock on doors and make phone calls, touch dust dearly. No candidate had more thrown at him, but no candidate had so many committed volunteers and staff. Finally, I want to thank my wife Casey, and our kids Madison Mason and Mammie. Casey’s gone far above and beyond and her support for our campaign and for our cause. She’s not only a great wife and mother, she’s a great American who caress deeply about the future of the country that our kids will inherit. Our kids have seen and done a lot on the trail from playing on the fame Field of Dreams baseball site in Iowa to making their first snowman in New Hampshire. They are one of the reasons we fight so hard for what we believe in. Winston Churchill once remarked that success is not final. Failure is not fatal. It is the courage to continue that counts. While this campaign has ended, the mission continues down here in Florida. We will continue to show the country how to lead. Thank you and God bless.
The first report of this development from a mainstream publication came on Sunday via Bloomberg News (The Politics Brief strongly suggested that DeSantis was about to drop out on Saturday night):
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and his top aides are having internal discussions about when and how he should drop out of the 2024 presidential race, according to people briefed on the campaign’s conversations.
The discussions are fluid, with the governor and his wife, Casey, as the final decision-makers, but one possibility is to leave the race before voting starts in New Hampshire on Tuesday to avoid an embarrassing third-place finish.
New polling from CNN and the University of New Hampshire shows DeSantis earning just 6% of the state’s Republican vote, whereas Trump has 50% and Haley has 39%.
NBC News further corroborated this reporting on Sunday:
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, once seen as the most formidable opponent to Donald Trump in the Republican presidential primary, is planning to suspend his race Sunday, three sources confirmed to NBC News.
The move comes two days before the New Hampshire primary and is expected to come before the 5 p.m. event he had scheduled here in Manchester.
DeSantis sought to position himself as an alternative to Trump, trying to cast himself as a politically successful heir to the MAGA movement and its preferred policies without Trump’s baggage. But in his bid to court Trump’s supporters, DeSantis was slow to meaningfully criticize the former president and was unable to peel away enough of his support. DeSantis’ embrace of hard-right policies also led moderate Republicans and independents to look elsewhere in their search for a candidate to steer the GOP in a different direction than Trump.
As reported previously, the first stirrings of DeSantis’ imminent departure from the 2024 presidential race came on Saturday night.
NBC NEWS: DeSantis has canceled his appearance tomorrow on Meet The Press and is no longer appearing on CNN tomorrow as previously scheduled.
— Election Wizard (@ElectionWiz) January 20, 2024
“NBC NEWS: DeSantis has canceled his appearance tomorrow on Meet The Press and is no longer appearing on CNN tomorrow as previously scheduled,” Election Wizard reported.
I’m hearing that DeSantis is about to drop out. He’s the best governor in America. He can be proud of that & return to doing that. Resist the urge to taunt. Biden is the enemy. Embrace the gov’s supporters, crush Halery, proceed to November. Stay focused on the prize.
— Michael Berry (@MichaelBerrySho) January 21, 2024
“I’m hearing that DeSantis is about to drop out,” conservative talk radio host Michael Berry said. “He’s the best governor in America. He can be proud of that & return to doing that. Resist the urge to taunt. Biden is the enemy. Embrace the gov’s supporters, crush Halery, proceed to November. Stay focused on the prize.”
However, the DeSantis campaign’s press secretary attempted to put out the fire with a report that the Florida governor is traveling in New Hampshire.
The media hits were canceled due to a scheduling issue and will be rescheduled.
The governor will be traveling Sunday morning with the campaign and has public events scheduled Sunday evening through Tuesday in NH.
— Bryan Griffin (@BryanDGriffin) January 20, 2024
“The media hits were canceled due to a scheduling issue and will be rescheduled. The governor will be traveling Sunday morning with the campaign and has public events scheduled Sunday evening through Tuesday in NH,” Griffin said.
Ron DeSantis had insisted that “we’re in it for the long haul,” prior to the disappointing Iowa caucus results. It appears now that this is not the case, at least regarding the 2024 presidential race.