Samuel Case, FISM News
Former President Donald Trump on Thursday took aim at a host of potential 2024 Republican primary rivals while refusing to commit to supporting the GOP nominee should he lose.
The attacks came in an interview with conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt. Trump took swipes at a number of hypothetical adversaries including former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, Governors Ron DeSantis and Glenn Youngkin, and former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
Hewitt asked the former president to respond to reports that Haley will announce her candidacy this month.
“You know, she said numerous times, I put it up, actually, that I would never run if our president runs. He was a great president, et cetera, et cetera. She said that numerous times,” Trump said. “But she’s a very ambitious person. She just couldn’t stay in her seat. And I said you know what? ‘Nikki, if you want to run, you go ahead and run.’”
Trump later said “Nikki suffers from something that’s a very tough thing to suffer from. She’s overly ambitious.”
Trump also told Hewitt he believes that Youngkin and DeSantis would not have been elected to their respective governorships without his endorsement.
“He begged me for an endorsement,” Trump said of DeSantis, “There were tears coming down from his eyes. He said, ‘if you endorse me I’ll win.’” Similarly, he said of Mike Pompeo “I took Mike out of nothing.”
At one point Hewitt asked Trump, “If you’re not the nominee, will you support whoever the GOP nominee is?”
“It would depend,” Trump replied. “I would give you the same answer I gave in 2016 during the debates, the first question I was asked by Bret Baier.”
During the first Republican primary debate in 2016, Fox News host Bret Baier asked all 10 Republican candidates if there was anyone “unwilling” to pledge their support to the eventual party nominee. Trump raised his hand in response, saying “I cannot say. I have to respect the person that, if it’s not me, the person that wins.”
Currently, Trump is the only Republican to have officially announced a presidential campaign this election cycle and is leading in most polls.
The latest data from Morning Consult shows Trump with a clear advantage in the primaries. Trump leads DeSantis 48% to 31%, with former Vice President Mike Pence coming in a distant third with 8% and Haley trailing with 3%. Although some polls show DeSantis leading Trump by a strong margin.