DeSantis says Trump is ‘high risk,’ ‘low reward’ GOP presidential nominee


Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said former President Donald Trump would be a risky 2024 GOP nominee, saying he has a “small” chance of beating President Biden, and would have a tough time attracting the necessary talent to “get the job done” should he win.

DeSantis, who is locked in a heated battle for second place in the Republican primary race with former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, was asked about his thoughts on the frontrunner Trump on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

“Donald Trump is a high-risk proposition as a nominee because I think the chance of him getting elected is small, but it’s a low reward because he’s going to be a lame duck on day one – that even if he could get elected, he would not be able to attract the type of talent to work in his administration and he’d be saddled with all these distractions that it’d be virtually impossible to get the job done,” DeSantis said.

DeSantis also likened Trump to Biden in terms of age, saying the position of commander in chief is “not a job for an 80-year-old.” 

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Republican presidential candidate Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis also said Trump’s age will prevent him from being an effective president. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

Biden, 80, is roughly three and a half years older than Trump, 77. Should Trump win the presidency, he will be 79 years old when taking office. DeSantis is 44.

Trump on stage in Iowa

Former President Donald Trump is 77 years old. (AP Photo/Bryon Houlgrave)

“Father time is undefeated,” the governor said. “Donald Trump is not exempt from any of that. I think with somebody like me, you go in, you know, I’m in the prime of my life. I go in day one, I’ll serve two terms, deliver big results and get the country moving again. That’s what Republican voters want to see.”

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DeSantis claimed that the Trump running today “not the same guy” who would “barnstorm” debate stages in 2016 and was “really going to shake things up.”

Now Trump is “wedded to the teleprompter,” unwilling to debate and is running on many of the same issues he failed to deliver on in 2016, the governor said, citing the construction of the border wall and “draining the swamp” in Washington, D.C., among the former president’s failures. 

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Meanwhile, Trump continued to attack both DeSantis and Haley during his appearance Saturday in Iowa, urging those in attendance to turn out on caucus day to “make sure we have a big victory” that would signal to other candidates that they should drop out.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.



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