Donald Trump is by far the frontrunner for the Republican nomination. But the winds may be changing on him.
And a former ally hit Trump with this major wakeup call.
With polls showing Donald Trump as the shoo-in for the nomination, he’s starting to act as if he doesn’t even need to try.
That’s why his campaign announced recently that he may very well not participate in the Republican debates.
But that hasn’t sat well with some Republican candidates.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has taken aim straight at Donald Trump, with the former president scheduled to miss a crucial forum in Iowa on Friday and threatening to skip the first debate next month.
“Nobody is entitled to this nomination,” DeSantis told conservative Boston radio host Howie Carr Wednesday. “You have got to earn the nomination and doing things like the Family Leader event in Iowa, doing things like these debates, they’re important parts of the process.”
Trump has been noncommittal about attending the first Republican debate, which will be sponsored by Fox News on Aug. 23 in Milwaukee.
Organizers of a big Des Moines cattle call, the Family Leadership Summit, disclosed earlier this week that the former president will not attend.
Instead, the 77-year-old will headline a Turning Point USA event near his Florida home.
“The American people deserve to hear from us directly about our vision for the country, and about how we’re going to be able to defeat Joe Biden,” DeSantis told Carr.
“We had the Biden-Trump [showdown] in 2020 and Biden’s president. The idea that he’s just entitled after that doesn’t make any sense.”
DeSantis increased his criticism of his erstwhile buddy, accusing Trump of running for president for the third time in a row with no new ideas.
“His campaign is basically doing two things: one, promising things like draining the swamp and building the wall that he promised in 2016 and didn’t deliver. And then two, these new ideas like building 20 cities and having school principals be elected by the parents — have the federal government do that. Those are not good ideas,” the governor said.
The Trump team hit back against DeSantis on Thursday, saying the 44-year-old is acting irrationally in the face of a significant polling deficit.
“DeSantis should focus on his own flailing campaign rife with internal conflict and subversion among his closest supporters, instead of throwing a temper tantrum because he is losing so badly,” Trump 2024 spokesperson Steven Cheung told The Post.
“Nobody wants to be associated with his dumpster fire of a campaign and this reeks of desperation because they know they are on life support. President Trump has traveled to Iowa more times than DeSantis has, and holds a commanding lead because voters know he is the only person who can beat Joe Biden and take the White House back.”
Trump has highlighted his massive advantage over the GOP field as rationale for skipping the debate. According to the most recent RealClearPolitics average, he leads DeSantis by 32.4 points.
“At the moment, President Trump has indicated that he’s unlikely to participate, at least in the first two debates. He’s up by 30, 40, and even new polling shows he’s up by almost 50% in certain places,” Jason Miller, a longtime Trump adviser, said in an interview with NewsNation Tuesday.
Some Republican analysts have suggested a kumbaya between the two GOP heavyweights, but DeSantis has ruled out being Trump’s running mate.
“I don’t think so,” DeSantis told “Wisconsin Right Now” radio during a recent interview. “I’m not a number two guy. I think I’m a leader.”
“[As] governor of Florida, I’ve been able to accomplish a lot,” he said. “I think I could probably do more staying there than being VP, which doesn’t really have any authority.”