Former President Donald Trump continues to knock other Republicans ahead of his expected presidential campaign announcement.
Trump has been teasing his return to the campaign trail for months, and, true to style, he’s already taking shots at potential political rivals.
The former president ruffled Republican feathers earlier this week when he opened fire on Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis during a Pennsylvania rally just days before the midterm elections.
“We’re winning big in the Republican Party for the nomination like nobody’s ever seen before,” Trump said before listing other Republicans who may challenge him, as well as their approval ratings.
“There it is, Trump at 71%, Ron DeSanctimonious at 10%,” Trump said. “Mike Pence at 7, oh, Mike is doing better than I thought. Liz Cheney, there’s no way she’s at 4%. There’s no way. There’s no way. But we’re at 71 to 10 to 7 to 4.”
Trump sparked immediate backlash from many Republicans, who criticized the former president for taking the jab at DeSantis a few days before the midterm elections.
The former president attacked DeSantis with the same nickname following the election, continuing his digs at his political protégé.
DeSantis handily prevailed in the 2022 midterms with Florida’s new deep red hue a bright spot in a disappointing election for Republicans, who were hoping to ride a red wave into control of Congress.
Trump also took aim at Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin, a rising GOP star, attacking him in a TruthSocial post on Friday in which the former president said the Old Dominion governor’s name sounds “Chinese” while spelling it like South Korean-born California GOP Rep. Young Kim’s name. Kim was re-elected to the House in the midterm elections.
“Young Kin (now that’s an interesting take. Sounds Chinese, doesn’t it?) in Virginia couldn’t have won without me,” Trump wrote on TruthSocial. “I Endorsed him, did a very big Trump Rally for him telephonically, got MAGA to Vote for him – or he couldn’t have come close to winning.
“But he knows that, and admits it,” Trump continued. “Besides, having a hard time with the Dems in Virginia – But he’ll get it done!”
The attack on Youngkin came the day after Virginia Lt. Gov. Winsome Sears said she “could not support” Trump in 2024.
Similar in response to the attacks on DeSantis, Trump faced heavy criticism for his attack on Youngkin from Republicans who defended the Virginia governor.
Youngkin reacted to the attack on Friday while speaking with reporters, saying he “didn’t see it” and that name-calling wasn’t his style.
“You all know me, I do not call people names, I really work hard to bring people together, and that’s what we’re working to do,” Youngkin said.
“Well, that’s what I’m saying, and that’s just not the way I roll and not the way I behave,” the Virginia governor said when pressed by reporters saying he had been called a name by the former president.
Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin responds to Trump.
— Townhall.com (@townhallcom) November 11, 2022
However, while taking a tough stance against Youngkin and DeSantis, Trump’s jabs at the rising GOP stars also give insight into whom the former president views as potential 2024 threats.
Youngkin’s name has been floated as a potential 2024 pick for the Republicans, thanks in part to his successful campaign that made education a centerfold issue and rallied people to vote across the aisle.
The Old Dominion governor’s campaign also towed the MAGA and moderate crowds well by accepting Trump’s endorsement while keeping somewhat distant from the former president.
DeSantis’ name has been floated since President Biden took office as a potential GOP nominee to take back the White House in 2024, especially after the sweeping Florida elections that serve as a bright spot for Republicans in an otherwise underwhelming midterm cycle.
The 45th president has teased for months that he will be making another run for the White House and is expected to do so next week.
However, the school of thought that most Republicans will move out of the way in the wake of Trump’s expected announcement may not be as viable anymore.
Trump’s impact on the midterms may also spur prominent Republicans who are against running in light of the former president’s announcement to change their plans.
Still, most Republicans may move out of the way in the wake of Trump’s expected announcement, but there will likely be GOP challengers to the former president in the primary.
Trump’s attacks on DeSantis and Youngkin foreshadow a Republican primary that will likely see the former president’s signature aggressive campaign style return to the fray.
Trump’s style of politicking may not resonate as well with GOP voters this time around, though, as some Republicans are starting to look to other party leaders going toward 2024.