Florida’s DeSantis withdraws from Republican presidential race, endorses Trump

By: - January 21, 2024 4:15 pm

Republican presidential candidate Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks at his caucus night event on Jan. 15, 2024 in West Des Moines, Iowa. DeSantis dropped out of the race on Sunday, Jan. 21, 2024. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON — Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis withdrew from the Republican race for the presidential nomination on Sunday, less than two days before Tuesday’s New Hampshire primary.

DeSantis, who came in second following the first-in-the-nation Iowa Caucuses on Jan. 15, released a nearly five-minute video on social media announcing that he had suspended his campaign and was endorsing the front-runner, former President Donald Trump.

“Following our second-place finish in Iowa, we’ve prayed and deliberated on the way forward,” DeSantis said. “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. We don’t have a clear path to victory.”

While DeSantis said he’s had disagreements with Trump, including on how he handled COVID-19 while president, the governor said he believes Trump is “superior” to President Joe Biden.

“He has my endorsement because we can’t go back to the old Republican guard of yesteryear, or repackaged form of warmed-over corporatism that Nikki Haley represents,” DeSantis said, referring to the former United Nations ambassador from South Carolina who is seeking the nomination. “The days of putting Americans last, of kowtowing to large corporations, of caving to woke ideology are over.”

Haley, speaking at a campaign event in New Hampshire, said she wished DeSantis well and noted the Republican presidential primary is now just her and Trump.

“There were 14 people in this race. There were a lot of fellas. All the fellas are out, except for this one,” she said, according to a video posted to X, formerly known as Twitter. “And this comes down to what do you want: Do you want more of the same or do you want something new?”

Montana Republican Sen. Steve Daines, chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, posted on social media that all GOP lawmakers should line up behind Trump.

“Donald Trump is the presumptive nominee,” Daines wrote. “I am encouraging every Republican to unite behind him because it will take all of us to defeat Joe Biden, take back the Senate, and hold the House.”

Virginia Rep. Bob Good, chairman of the U.S. House Freedom Caucus, posted on social media that he’s now supporting Trump for president.

“It is my privilege to provide my complete and total endorsement for Donald J. Trump as the 47th President of the United States,” Good wrote. “President Trump was the greatest President of my lifetime, and we need him to reinstate the policies that were working so well for America.”

Jacob Fischler contributed to this report. 

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Jennifer Shutt
Jennifer Shutt

Jennifer covers the nation’s capital as a senior reporter for States Newsroom. Her coverage areas include congressional policy, politics and legal challenges with a focus on health care, unemployment, housing and aid to families.