Former President Donald Trump on Thursday took aim at a number of possible 2024 GOP rivals, calling his former UN ambassador Nikki Haley “overly ambitious” and blaming governments. Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.) and Glenn Youngkin (R-Va.) to be ungrateful.
Trump spoke for half an hour with conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt, addressing some of his potential challengers for the Republican nomination and refusing to pledge support for the party’s eventual nominee.
The former president told Hewitt he believes Haley, DeSantis, Youngkin and former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo shouldn’t run against him because of Trump’s previous relationships with them, though Trump acknowledged he probably won’t. he would have stopped.
“Yes, I would say that, but I know how life works. And I know how politics works,” Trump said. “And politics is a microcosm, but even more vicious, than life.”
“So you know, I helped all those people. I pulled Mike out of nowhere… I think he always said he would never run against the president,” Trump added. “And you know, time goes by and then they want to run, because they are ambitious people. very bad.
Pompeo hasn’t said whether he will run for president in 2024, though he recently released a memoir and has visited early primary states like Iowa and New Hampshire.
Trump was equally critical of Haley, who is expected to announce Feb. 15 that he’s running for president. Trump said he recently spoke on the phone with Haley about his plans for her.
“He said I will never run against my president. He is a great president. He was our greatest president. He will never run. He will never run away,” Trump told Hewitt. “But Nikki is suffering from something very difficult to suffer. She is overly ambitious.
Trump chastised Youngkin, the governor of Virginia, for not publicly giving him more credit for helping him get elected in 2021.
Trump said Youngkin reached out to Trump privately to offer his appreciation after Trump did a tele-rally in the final days of the campaign, but the former president complained that Youngkin wasn’t appreciative enough in public.
Trump was equally critical of DeSantis, the Florida governor who is seen as the former president’s main rival in a possible 2024 primary.
“Ron DeSantis was elected because of me. You remember he had nothing. He was dead. He was abandoning the race. He came to me and he begged me, he begged me for an endorsement,” Trump said, also stating that DeSantis was crying at the time.
The former president has escalated his attacks on DeSantis in recent days, accusing the governor of rewriting history on how he has responded to the coronavirus pandemic and calling him a “RINO globalist.”
Most polls showed Trump and DeSantis comfortably ahead of the rest of the field in a hypothetical GOP primary. DeSantis has trailed Trump in some polls, including one released last week polling GOP primary voters in New Hampshire.
But Trump is currently the only declared candidate in the field, and his dedicated voter base gives him solid support in the primary, particularly if several candidates divide the rest of the electorate.
Trump has held few events since announcing his candidacy in November, appearing last weekend in New Hampshire and South Carolina for his first campaign speeches outside of Florida.
The former president told Hewitt that his children would not take part in his campaign this time after his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, played a key role in 2016 and 2020.
“So the answer is Jared won’t be involved and I don’t want them,” Trump said. “I want them to go out and have a good life.”
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