Former President Donald Trump hailed a “Big Victory” on Friday and prepared to go ahead with plans to launch his 2024 White House campaign even as Republicans licked their wounds from a historic flop in the midterm elections.
“WE WON!” Trump claimed on his social media platform. “Big Victory, don’t be stupid. Stand on the rooftops and shout it out loud!”
While there is a chance that additional Trump-backed candidates could win their races in late ballot counting, the sweeping victory or “red wave” Republicans predicted did not come to fruition. However, the GOP still appears well-positioned to flip the House.
Virginia’s Republican lieutenant governor, Winsome Earle-Sears, once a vocal Trump supporter, said voters had sent “a very clear message” Tuesday that “enough is enough.”
“The voters have spoken and they have said that they want a different leader. And a true leader understands when they have become a liability,” she said in an appearance on Fox Business. “A true leader understands that it’s time to step off the stage. It is time to move on.
Some advisers had urged Trump to delay his planned announcement until after the Dec. 6 Senate runoff election in Georgia that could determine which party controls the Senate to avoid turning the race into a referendum on him and unintentionally helping Democrats. But Trump invited reporters to a “Special Announcement” at his Mar-a-Lago club on Tuesday, Nov. 15, at 9 p.m.
In part, Trump’s decision to move forward appears to be driven by his desire to freeze the field and lock in support to halt the rise of DeSantis, whom he has long considered his most formidable potential foe.
Some Trump allies have already lined up to endorse the former president even before his impending announcement.
House Republican Rep. Elise Stefanik of New York endorsed Trump for president in 2024 and became the highest-ranking congressional leader Friday to publicly back the former president. She’s also been mentioned as a possible vice presidential contender on an emerging Trump ticket.
“I am proud to endorse Donald J. Trump for President in 2024. I fully support him running again,” House GOP Chairwoman Elise Stefanik of New New York said in a statement. “It is time for Republicans to unite around the most popular Republican in America, who has a proven track record of conservative governance.”
“If he runs in 2024, not only will he have my support, but he’ll have the support of millions of Americans across the country,” said Rep. Jim Banks, a top congressional ally.
In a sign of his growing frustration, Trump released a lengthy and angry statement Thursday evening berating Fox News and other Rupert Murdoch-controlled media outlets for going “all in for Governor Ron DeSanctimonious DeSantis,” whom he slammed as “an average REPUBLICAN Governor with great Public Relations,” as he again took credit for DeSantis’s 2018 win.