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GOP neglects Trump's reelection bid

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Photo by Jonathan Ernst / Reuters
Photo by Jonathan Ernst / Reuters

Donald Trump announced that he will run again for the presidency in 2024 at a November 15 event at his Mar-a-Lago estate. The long-expected announcement met with applause from the crowd at the event but far less enthusiasm from Republican party leaders.

Those on hand for Trump's comeback speech did not include a single Republican senator or governor, and only two congressmen. In fact, it didn't even include Trump's daughter and son-in-law, Ivanka and Jared Kushner, who played such a prominent role in his administration.

According to the New York Post — formerly a pro-Trump paper owned by Rupert Murdoch — an inside source said that the ex-president tried to get Ivanka and Jared to attend but they declined.

"They both feel they got burned in Washington and don't want to go back and expose themselves and their children to another bitter campaign," the source said. The couple's refusal to show up has created "extra behind-the-scenes tension," the source added, since Ivanka's brothers Donald Jr. and Eric are "all in" on yet another White House bid by their 76-year-old father.

Meanwhile, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, widely seen as a rival to Trump for the 2024 GOP nomination, hit back at the ex-president, who has nicknamed him "Ron DeSanctimonious."

"One of things I've learned in this job is that when you're leading, when you're getting things done, you take incoming fire," DeSantis said at a press conference. "That's just the nature of it. None of that stuff matters. All that's just noise. We've focused on results and leadership. At the end of the day, I'll just tell folks to go check out the scoreboard from last Tuesday night."

DeSantis cruised to an easy reelection victory on November 8 and also managed to tighten the GOP hold on Florida's legislature and municipal offices.

Another Trump critic, former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, received a warm reception at a meeting of Republican governors on November 15. Christie has made it clear that he blames Trump for electoral losses suffered by GOP candidates in the November 8 election. According to Axios, Christie "received huge applause" from the governors' group.

The prestigious Wall Street Journal also joined the anti-Trump chorus.

"Donald Trump seems to be barreling ahead with an announcement Tuesday night that he plans to run for president again. The irony is that more Democrats than Republicans will be elated, because they see him as the easiest candidate to beat one more time," the WSJ's editorial board wrote.

"The GOP, and the country, would be best served if Mr. Trump ceded the field to the next generation of Republican leaders to compete for the nomination in 2024. If Mr. Trump insists on running, then Republican voters will have to decide if they want to nominate the man most likely to produce a GOP loss and total power for the progressive left."

Ben Domenech, founder of the conservative Federalist magazine, praised Trump as someone who changed the Republican Party "for the better," but added, "He's also, I think, served his purpose in a way that I think many Republicans are satisfied with, and they would prefer now to move on.

"In a generational way, they are tired of his act, they are tired of what he brings to the table. They would like to move on to his Trump-adjacent, still populist, still conservative, but less chaotic and more competent friend, Ron DeSantis. At least, a friend until the last couple of weeks."

In an even more significant defection from the pro-Trump ranks, billionaire Ken Griffin — founder of the Citadel investment group — called Donald Trump a "three-time loser" and said he hoped the former president would "see the writing on the wall" and not run for the White House again.

"I'd like to think that the Republican Party is ready to move on from somebody who has been for this party a three-time loser," Griffin said, citing Trump's 2020 defeat, the loss of Georgia Senate seats in 2021, and this year's midterms.

According to Bloomberg News, Griffin is now backing Trump's main rival, Ron DeSantis. DeSantis is "going to run on a record of just unbelievable accomplishment," Griffin told Bloomberg.

With a fortune estimated at more than $29 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, Griffin is Florida's richest person and one of the GOP's biggest benefactors.