With the 2022 midterm elections less than five months away, some Republicans are beginning to signal a move away from former President Donald Trump and his influence on the GOP.
In Florida, Gov. Ron DeSantis is hesitating in asking the 45th president for his endorsement on his re-election bid, Politico reported Wednesday.
The Republican governor has not asked — and has no plans to ask — Trump for his endorsement for this November, four people connected to DeSantis and Trump told the outlet.
The move comes as dozens of Trump-endorsed candidates — including Pennsylvania Senate candidate Dr. Mehmet Oz — have sailed to victory in their primary elections.
DeSantis has been floated as a potential GOP contender for president in 2024 — closely following behind Trump. As he avoids the former president’s backing for now, many Trump supporters are also turning their focus toward the Florida governor.
A weekend Politico analysis of campaign finance data found that at least 10 donors who spent $24 million on Trump’s re-election bid in 2020 have since donated approximately $3.4 million to the Republican governor’s political committee, Friends of Ron DeSantis.
If DeSantis is endorsed by Trump in the coming months, it is unclear how much the governor would advertise it as the former president faces an onslaught of accusations related to efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election from the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 riot.
As the committee has held several live hearings featuring testimony from Trump allies, family members and former White House aides, at least one Trump-endorsed candidate is quietly adjusting his campaign messaging that previously used the former president’s name.
Meanwhile, an Axios analysis of Oz’s social media and campaign website found that the Republican candidate is no longer touting his Trump endorsement, which was heavily referenced leading up to the May 17 primary.
Specifically, social media banners on Oz’s official Facebook and Twitter accounts no longer advertise him as being “Endorsed By Trump.” Instead, both accounts feature a banner that reads “Thank you, Pennsylvania” along with a solo photo of the celebrity doctor.
The Facebook banner — also known as a cover photo — was changed on June 12. The Twitter photo was also changed by that date, according to screengrabs collected by WayBack Time Machine.
Oz’s bios on both of the accounts also no longer list him as a “Trump endorsed candidate for US Senate,” and simply say, “Thank you, Pennsylvania.”
Even the Republican’s posts have shifted away from consistent pro-Trump language.
Axios found that Oz’s official Twitter account mentioned the former president over 70 times between April 9 and May 17. The account has not mentioned Trump’s name in a post since.
Oz has also stopped mentioning Trump in posts from his account on the Trump-run social media site Truth Social.
Oz’s team has defended the shift in messaging, telling Axios, “The endorsement is the first endorsement listed on our website and we changed the banner to thank Pennsylvanians after the recount was completed.”
While Trump’s backing is listed at the top of the “endorsements” section of Oz’s official campaign website, it had appeared on the front page of the site as recently as June 11.
And even staunch supporters of the former president have publicly expressed the need to move away from Trump now.
“Donald Trump is disconnected from the base,” Amy Kremer, chair of Women for America First, told Politico this week.
“It’s time for those of us in the movement to get back to basics, back to our first principles,” she added. “We were here long before President Trump came along, and we’re going to be here long afterward.”
It is unclear if Trump will pursue a third presidential election bid in 2024, though he is expected to announce a decision following the fall midterms.
Even if more Republicans jump ship, the 45th president doesn’t appear fazed, telling the New Yorker on Monday, “I think I would win.”
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