Florida Governor Ron DeSantis was not a happy camper when asked during his Japan excursion for an explanation of why he is trailing former President Donald Trump in the polls.
“I’m not – I’m not a candidate, so we’ll see if uh, if and when that changes,” quipped the presidential prospect before walking away from an unrelated press conference meant highlight his visit with the Japanese prime minister.
"I'm not a candidate, so we'll see if and when that changes," Gov. DeSantis, who is in Japan right now, says when asked about polls that show him falling behind Trump. pic.twitter.com/nDVeyBoVHN
— Kaitlan Collins (@kaitlancollins) April 24, 2023
The latest polls have punctured any perceived strengths Governor DeSantis has sought to project over the former president, the largest being his argument of being more electable. Among GOP voters, President Trump holds a 14-point advantage while just 41 percent believe DeSantis would fare better against President Joe Biden. Asked who was a “strong leader,” Republicans gave Trump a massive 32-point lead.
Given President Biden’s high unfavorable rating of 57 percent, Republicans are champing at the bit to find their best candidate in a presidential field that so far is trailing in contenders compared to years past. In addition to a potential challenge from Governor DeSantis, President Trump faces a number of lesser-known foes like former ambassador and South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley; former Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson, businessmen Perry Johnson and Vivek Ramaswamy; and conservative radio host Larry Elder. Others contemplating jumping in are former Vice President Mike Pence and former New Jersey Governor and onetime Trump ally Chris Christie.
Governor DeSantis gained national notoriety for scoffing at lockdown measures during the Covid-19 pandemic, promoting Florida as open for business and leisure at a time when most Americans were living under restrictions on travel and gathering. As Florida’s chief executive has made the rounds and worked to shore up support for his fledgling bid, he has had to contend with a majority of the state’s congressional delegation endorsing President Trump’s reelection campaign. Most recently, Rep. Byron Donalds, a darling of the conservative right, went public with his reasons for why the former president stands a better chance at removing President Biden from the Oval Office.