In Las Vegas, some potential 2024 candidates are trying to keep the mantle off the ex-president
At an influential Republican event in Las Vegas over the weekend, Donald Trump’s name was mentioned frequently, but not always with the political respect he was once accustomed to.
Party donors and fundraisers gathered to assess potential presidential candidates for 2024, including Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and former Vice President Mike Pence.
But Trump echoed criticism from other prominent Republicans on Saturday about who should be the GOP standard-bearer.
“We need to have this discussion openly,” former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie said at Saturday’s Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC) meeting. “We must have this family fight. And we must have him now.”
Christie, who led Trump’s transition team at the White House in 2016 after running against him in that year’s primary, said he ultimately expects seven or eight main candidates to run in the race, “which is manageable” compared to the 16 who ran against Trump in 2016.
“A lot of these people are fishing out of the Trump pond,” Christie said, implying that prospects like DeSantis and Mike Pompeo are “MAGA guys” who would support Trump’s base in ways that create opportunities for others — like him .
“Should we all rally behind someone? ok who? I don’t think there’s an obvious choice,” Christie said.
Pompeo, Trump’s former secretary of state, who is also considering a White House run, has apparently attacked Trump but has not mentioned him by name.
Pompeo said conservatives deserve leaders “who fight for them, not for us or our own egos.”
Addressing the gathering via video, Trump said, “We have to stay strong and fight, and frankly, you better hope that a certain person wins the 2024 election.” He received a few cheers and a standing ovation in the hotel’s packed ballroom .
New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu said in an interview with The Washington Post: “People want to move on, there’s no doubt about that. He (Trump) will have to fight for (the nomination) like everyone else.”
Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, who is considering a run in 2024, said: “Trump needs to be tested. People have to go out there and be ready to stand up to him.”
The man who could pose the biggest threat is DeSantis, who also received a warm response as the final speaker on Saturday night.
“We still have a lot of work to do and I’ve only just started fighting,” DeSantis told the crowd, without explaining his future plans.
He spoke earlier this month about his resounding re-election victory, which saw him beat his Democratic opponent by almost 20 points, and argued he couldn’t win over traditional Republican voters.
But DeSantis made no mention of Trump.
Twitter owner Elon Musk has restored Trump’s access to the social media platform that fueled his rise to the presidency in 2016 and served as his main club to slam opponents. Trump has 86.5 million followers on Twitter, but his last tweet in a sort of reopened time capsule was on January 8, 2021.
Musk based his decision to restore Trump on a Twitter poll. Of the 15,085,458 votes cast, Trump received 51.8 percent for his reinstatement.
“People have spoken. Trump is reinstated. Vox Populi, Vox Dei,” Musk tweeted Saturday night.
Former New Hampshire GOP chairwoman Jennifer Horn, who led the state party in 2016, said the growing list of likely candidates for 2024 “should know better this time around.”
“You’re nurturing the very environment that Trump needs to win,” Horn told CBS News. “If past is prologue, we all have cause for concern.”
Pence made a cautious appearance at the RJC event, addressing the Trump administration’s accomplishments but avoiding direct criticism of his former boss.
But in an interview with NBC’s Meet the Press on Sunday, Pence said Trump received bad advice from lawyers in the days leading up to the Jan. 6, 2021 Capitol riot.
He said Trump’s administration hit a “new low” when attorney Justin Clark told Trump in the Oval Office that lawsuits challenging election results in various states were likely to be unsuccessful.
“Things got very heated,” Pence said. “There was screaming, there was screaming. But after that meeting, the President made the decision to replace his able campaign attorneys with this expanding body of outside counsel, ultimately leading him to conclude that I had the authority to overturn the election, which was demonstrably and historically incorrect.”
But when asked on Sunday if he believed Trump committed a crime in connection with the attack on the Capitol, Pence replied: “I don’t know if it’s a crime to listen to bad advice from lawyers.”
During the Aug. 8 search of Trump’s Mar-a-Lago, Florida residence, Pence suggested that federal authorities had not exhausted all methods used to recover documents, adding, “There must be many other ways to address these issues.” solve.”
Agencies contributed to this story.