Former Trump campaign adviser endorses Ron DeSantis for president

A previous adviser to former President Donald Trump has endorsed Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis in the 2024 Republican primary for president. Steve Cortes, a former senior strategy adviser for Trump’s 2020 presidential campaign, argued in a Tuesday opinion piece for Newsweek that DeSantis — who has yet to announce whether he will run for president next year — is “the best possible option to win the presidency in 2024.” Cortes suggested that the prominent Florida Republican would “govern as a highly capable, patriotic populist leader” should he be elected. “I have worked as a dedicated spokesman and advocate for Donald Trump for much of the last seven years, so I do not arrive at that conclusion flippantly. But our America First movement has always been bigger and more important than any one individual, and heading into this crucial election, our activism and our votes must be guided by a clear-eyed assessment of recent failures and potential future successes,” Cortes wrote. FLORIDA REPUBLICANS BACKING TRUMP DENOUNCE LEAK OF DESANTIS DEBATE TAPES: ‘DISLOYAL HACKERY’ Outlining his support for DeSantis over Trump, Cortes claimed it comes down to three things: A rematch between Trump and President Biden that “no one likes,” there being “no substitute” for a Republican victory, and “discipline and policy results over chaos.” “Is a rematch of 2020 really the best America can do in a moment like this one?” Cortes wrote. “The country is miserable. That’s not some biased or uninformed right-wing opinion, but the harsh reality revealed by data and evidence. Nearly three out of four Americans believe the country is on the wrong track, per the latest Morning Consult poll. Partisanship aside, only one in five independents believe the country is headed in the right direction.” Questioning whether a rematch between Trump and Biden would “inspire a national renewal,” Cortes suggested it’s time for voters to consider supporting DeSantis, a man he considers to be the “most compelling candidate” amid frustration from millions of Americans who have grown tired of political infighting. Highlighting the “disappointing losses in 2018, 2020, and 2022,” Cortes said it’s time for Republicans to “find a way to halt the trend of losing and pivot to winning candidates and approaches for 2024 and beyond.” “America is a philosophically center-right country, but in recent years it has been governed like some national version of Berkeley, California, because of these preventable election losses,” he wrote. “The days of Republican voters screaming from their couches in anger must end. Without victory, our conservative agendas — however correct or well-formed — mean little.” Cortes’ solution for winning, he said, would start by “looking to the lone statewide bright spot of November 2022: Florida.” TRUMP, PRO-LIFE GROUP MEET AFTER PUBLIC FIGHT OVER FEDERAL ABORTION RESTRICTIONS “Not only did Ron DeSantis win a smashing runaway victory in the race for governor by nearly 20 points, but he also lifted Republicans in the entire slate, ushering in a full GOP sweep of statewide offices for the first time since the Reconstruction era,” he said. “In addition, DeSantis proved the appeal of competent governance combined with the fighting spirit of patriotic populism. The governor’s landslide win included tectonic shifts of constituencies that Republicans previously struggled to convince.” Rounding out his last point for supporting DeSantis over Trump, Cortes said “winning is the foundational imperative,” but the Republican nominee must be able to “translate electoral victory into effective policy and governance.” “Here, the record of Governor DeSantis truly shines and elevates him as a proven executive with laser-like focus on goals, process, and personnel,” Cortes said. “Governor DeSantis proves that a steady, unified, drama-free team achieves far better results than loud social media grandstanding.” “Consequently, during DeSantis’ tenure in Florida, the state has transformed into a beacon of economic opportunity, cultural sanity, and science-based policy agendas. During the COVID pandemic, Florida confronted the illogical abuses of school shutdowns and ridiculous federal dictates from Washington,” he added. “Combined with DeSantis’ enterprise-friendly economic approach, masses of Americans rallied to this Florida vision.” Concluding his written work offering support for DeSantis, Cortes said Republicans can “rally to a fresh, vibrant, and optimistic agenda, one that includes electoral victory followed by disciplined and focused policy achievements,” should they support DeSantis in the 2024 race for president. Despite Cortes’ op-ed for Newsweek, his daughter, Kingsley, shared a photo on the same day of herself in the Oval Office alongside Trump during his tenure in the White House. “MAGA,” Cortes’ daughter captioned the post, just hours after her father’s op-ed endorsing DeSantis was published. DeSantis has not yet said whether he will seek the GOP nomination for president next year, but suggested earlier this month that he’s “either gotta put or shut up” while addressing widespread speculation about his 2024 plans. “What happens in the future? We’ll get on that relatively soon. You either gotta put or shut up on that as well. So we’ll see,” DeSantis said. While DeSantis remains on the 2024 sidelines, pundits expect the conservative two-term governor to launch a presidential campaign sometime after the end of Florida’s legislative session, which concluded last week. Fox News’ Paul Steinhauser contributed to this article.
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