New Delhi: Even as the Republican Party predicts it a ‘Ron vs Don’ for nomination for 2024, former US President Donald Trump feels he has not been done yet and has vowed to remain in the 2024 presidential race even if he ends up being criminally indicted by various Congress committees and the courts. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is no longer the dark horse for 2024 as a vast majority of the party backs him against Trump.
Trump, in his characteristic flamboyant style, said, “Oh, absolutely, I won’t even think about leaving. Probably, it’ll enhance my numbers, but it’s a very bad thing for America. It’s very bad for the country.”
Trump made the remarks while being asked at a gaggle before his conservative political action conference address, media reports said.
Trump is up against a barrage of investigations or legal challenges, including a civil lawsuit over alleged business fraud from the New York Attorney General Letitia James; a sprawling criminal inquiry from the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office; an investigation from Fulton County; and special counsel Jack Smith’s two-pronged Justice Department investigation into the Georgia poll interferences by him and his supporters in 2020.
Trump drew an enthusiastic crowd at the CPAC where he decried the litany of investigations against him, contending “they’ve weaponised justice in our country”, the Washington Examiner reported.
He declined to commit to Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel’s call for 2024 candidates to make a pledge to back the eventual nominee. This was evidence he saw no one but himself being in the race for 2024.
“There are probably people that I wouldn’t be very happy about endorsing that are running, so we’ll see. I think some of them, I won’t use names, I don’t want to insult anybody, but some of them, I would not be very happy about,” Trump told reporters.
McDaniel had sought to corner all Republican 2024 contestants to back the eventual nominee in exchange for access to the debating platform.
However, not just Trump, candidates or potential 2024 hopefuls, such as former Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson, have been non-committal, reports said.
Trump presented himself as “retribution” for his loyal followers. He had won the CPAC straw poll at the confab, which appeared to have lower attendance levels than in the past.
“In 2016, I declared: I am your voice,” Trump said. “Today, I add: I am your warrior. I am your justice. And for those who have been wronged and betrayed, I am your retribution.”