US Republican DeSantis drops out and supports Trump Salzburger

US Republican DeSantis drops out and supports Trump Salzburger

The race for the Republican nomination in the US presidential elections appears to be over: two days before the primary elections in New Hampshire, former President Donald Trump's fiercest opponent, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, dropped out and supported the former president Donald Trump. “He has my support,” DeSantis said in a video published on X on Sunday afternoon (local time). In it, he criticized Trump's remaining opponent, Nikki Haley.

Haley put herself at the service of large companies. “The days of putting Americans last (…) are over,” DeSantis emphasized. In Monday's first primary elections in Iowa, he only managed to maintain second place ahead of Haley with great effort, while Trump won overwhelmingly with an absolute majority of votes. In New Hampshire, the ultraconservative governor was threatened with disaster, as everything was heading towards a duel between Trump and Haley. The former governor of South Carolina thought she had a chance of pulling off a surprise victory against the former president.

“Boy, things are changing quickly,” Haley said of DeSantis’ surprise withdrawal from a campaign rally in New Hampshire on Sunday. “Now that leaves one gentleman and one lady.” There were a lot of gentlemen in the race, Haley said — and addressed the voters: “Now it’s about what you want!” She had already intensified her verbal attacks on Trump over the weekend and questioned the 77-year-old's mental state and suitability for another term as president.

“I cannot ask our supporters for their time and donations when there is no clear path to victory,” DeSantis said. “That’s why I’m ending my campaign today.” DeSantis was considered to have no chance in the upcoming New Hampshire primary election. In the northeastern US state, voters are significantly less conservative than in Iowa, where DeSantis has managed to score points with his ultra-conservative agenda, some of which are still to the right of Trump.

During his candidacy, DeSantis, 45, strategically positioned himself as a staunchly right-wing enforcer. After a successful re-election as governor of Florida in November 2022, for a few months it looked like he might challenge Trump's candidacy. But DeSantis also had a reputation for being tough in his personal dealings with voters. His election campaign was also marked by appearances in TV debates that opponents described as “robotic”.

New Hampshire becomes the scene of a duel between Trump and Haley. The former UN ambassador recently tried to distance herself from Trump. She hopes to be able to score points in the state so she can go stronger for the next primaries. However, it is questionable whether it will be successful. In polls, Trump was recently averaging 14 percentage points ahead of Haley in New Hampshire. In South Carolina, where the primary is scheduled for February, Trump's lead is even greater — even though Haley comes from the southern state and was previously governor there.

The decision on the attribution of the Republican candidacy may, in fact, occur earlier this year than usual. The primary elections formally extend into the summer. The candidate is then chosen at a party conference before the presidential election campaign begins.