March 3, 2023
Several former supporters of ex-President Donald Trump attended a donor retreat hosted by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis over the last weekend in February and—after learning who was in attendance—Trump has promised retribution, reports Newsweek.
The former president launched his third run for the White House last November; and many 2024 polls suggest his main rival for the Republican nomination is DeSantis, who has yet to reveal his plans. In most polls, Trump ranks above potential opponents—including DeSantis, former Vice President Mike Pence; and Nikki Haley, who announced her bid in February.
The DeSantis donor event took place in Palm Beach, just a few miles from Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort where the former president held his own gathering on Thursday, February 23, according to CBS News.
The guests at the DeSantis gathering included Roy Bailey, who was national co-chair of Trump’s fundraising effort with the Republican National Committee in 2020,; and Mick Mulvaney, who served as Trump’s White House chief of staff for 14 months.
However, the name on the guest list that most seemed to perturb Trump was David McIntosh. The former U.S. representative is now the president of the Club for Growth, a conservative nonprofit that advocates for tax cuts. The organization opposed Trump’s campaign for the Republican nomination in 2016.
“Failed former Congressman David McIntosh and his Globalist friends at Club for No Growth, who fought me all the way in 2016, and LOST, and then fought me again in 2020 Senate Races in Ohio, Alabama, North Carolina, New Hampshire, plus more, and LOST AGAIN, are now threatening to spend money against me early because their new boy, Ron DeSanctus, the man who wants to cut Social Security and MediCare, has dropped so drastically in the Polls to me,” he wrote. “No Growth Members know there will be RETRIBUTION!!!”
Some Republican have voiced concern over Trump becoming the GOP nominee in 2024—suggesting that the former president is a distraction and more divisive than other primary candidates.
Lori Davis, who worked on Trump’s 2016 campaign in New Hampshire, said his critical and judgmental approach had turned some supporters against him. “I like Donald Trump. But he has gone too far polarizing. It’s going to be an uphill battle for him in this primary because of his divisiveness. People are tired of the drama,” Davis said.
“I’m seeing that people want DeSantis. He has a lot of the Trump philosophy, but is not as bombastic,; he’s not attacking people 24/7. People are tired of that. It gives them headaches.”
However, poll tracker FiveThirtyEight still shows Trump leading DeSantis in the race for the 2024 Republican nomination. In a compilation that includes research by YouGov, Emerson College, Morning Consult, and Echelon Insights, Trump is in front of DeSantis in every head-to-head, sometimes by as many as 30 percentage points.
Research contact: @Newsweek