OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author’s opinion.
Leading 2024 GOP presidential contender Donald Trump has received a ringing endorsement from a one-time ally who aligned himself with the now-defunct campaign of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.
Steve Cortes, DeSantis’s former spokesman for the Never Back Down Super PAC, “has come full circle and now backs Trump in the 2024 presidential election, expressing that he hopes Trump is the next president of the United States,” One America News reported.
Cortes had previously served as a Trump campaign advisor in both the 2016 and 2020 elections. However, following the 2020 campaign, he made the decision to leave the Trump team, citing what he characterized as “harsh attacks” from the former president directed at his former colleagues.
He then joined the Never Back Down Super PAC, claiming in May 2023 that the Florida governor was “the best possible option to win the presidency in 2024 and to govern as a highly capable, patriotic populist leader.”
He resigned from his position in October but did not publicly elaborate on his decision at the time, choosing not to comment for several months. However, he recently authored an op-ed for RealClearPolitics titled “Only Trump Can Save America,” in which he shared his perspective.
“I believed that Republican voters were ready for a new post-Trump chapter of the America First movement. I now believe I was wrong,” Cortes’ piece begins, adding that his former boss’s historically strong showing in Iowa makes him more confident than ever in Trump’s potential to win in November.
“Those of us who backed Ron DeSantis — or the other Republican candidates — should read the room. Former President Trump winnowed the field effortlessly and then crushed the remaining three candidates in Iowa. He leads in the polls everywhere else. It is time to coalesce and unite behind the clear preference of the GOP grassroots, Donald John Trump,” he wrote.
“It is time to unify behind former President Trump as he leads the battle against the ruling class and the oligarch’s intent on destroying the American way of life,” Cortes added. “I implore all patriotic populists to join as I pledge to do all I can to work for Trump’s cause, just as I proudly did in 2016 and 2020.”
Just days before the New Hampshire primary, DeSantis endorsed Trump and withdrew from the Republican presidential primary. The Florida governor took to X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter, and made the announcement.
“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 if we don’t have a clear path to victory. Accordingly, I am today suspending my campaign,” said DeSantis, who was a distant third in the single digits in the latest polls in New Hampshire.
“It’s clear to me that a majority of Republican primary voters want to give Donald Trump another chance. They watched his presidency get stymied by relentless resistance, and they see Democrats using lawfare this day to attack him. I signed a pledge to support the Republican nominee, and I will honor that pledge,” DeSantis added.
Trump responded by saying he is “very honored” for the endorsement, adding that he is eager “to work together with him to beat Joe Biden.”
Meanwhile, the 2024 GOP primary news for Nikki Haley, Trump’s sole remaining serious challenger, continues to get worse the longer she stays in the race.
According to a recent nationwide survey of 1,297 potential Republican primary voters conducted by Morning Consult last week, former President Donald Trump is favored by 81 percent of respondents, while his one-time UN ambassador, Haley, receives support from only 18 percent of voters.
This significant gap represents a deficit of 63 points and seems insurmountable at this point.