Florida Governor and 2024 presidential candidate Ron DeSantis issued a warning to his Republican party on Sunday, cautioning that sticking with the thrice-indicted former President Donald Trump and embracing his baseless claims of election fraud could lead to electoral losses.
In his initial interview since announcing his bid for the presidency, DeSantis maintained that the previous election wasn’t flawless, yet he dismissed Donald Trump’s false assertions about election irregularities perpetrated by President Joe Biden’s Democrats.
DeSantis, who has been trailing significantly behind former President Trump in Republican primary polling averages, emphasized, “Of course, he lost. Of course.
Joe Biden’s the president.” These remarks mark a shift for DeSantis, who had previously engaged primarily with conservative cable and internet outlets, avoiding mainstream broadcast audiences.
Though polls indicate that a majority of Republican primary voters mistakenly believe Trump won the last election, echoing Trump’s unsubstantiated claims of fraud has become a crucial litmus test for those aspiring to ascend in the party ranks.
While Governor DeSantis expressed his clearest affirmation yet of the election’s legitimacy, he criticized the extensive reliance on mail-in voting during 2020, a practice that Trump falsely painted as susceptible to fraud.
Notably, mail-in voting is promoted by the Republican Party and widely accessible in Florida.
Donald Trump, who faced two impeachments during his time in office, is currently facing indictment for his attempts to overturn the election, which culminated in the January 6, 2021 insurrection at the US Capitol.
This case stands as the most significant of four criminal investigations that have yielded multiple felony charges against him, including allegations related to the mishandling of classified documents at his Mar-a-Lago resort.
In an interview alongside his wife, Casey, Ron DeSantis navigated around addressing Donald Trump’s legal predicaments, arguing that overemphasizing the former president’s multiple legal battles would result in Republican defeat.
DeSantis emphasized that the key to victory lies in presenting a positive vision for the future while focusing on the failures of Biden’s policies.
DeSantis, who is 44 years old, remarked, “If the election is a referendum on Joe Biden’s policies and the failures that we’ve seen, and we are presenting a positive vision for the future, we will win the presidency and we will have a chance to turn the country around. If, on the other hand, the election is not about January 20, 2025, but January 6, 2021, or what document was left by the toilet at Mar-a-Lago, if it’s a referendum on that, we are going to lose.”