A new Yahoo News/YouGov poll finds that fewer consider “wokeness” (41%) a “big problem” in America today than any other option provided, including inflation (74%), breaching the debt ceiling (58%) and border security (58%).
Racism (50%) also outranks wokeness, as do new abortion restrictions (46%) and book banning in schools (47%) — issues on which President Biden plans to focus his reelection bid.
A new Florida Atlantic University poll finds Donald Trump leading Ron DeSantis among Republican presidential primary voters in Florida, 59% to 31%.
“Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) may not have announced that he’s running as a third-party candidate for president. But he’s acting like it,” Axios reports.
“Manchin took time from his busy Senate schedule to tell a gathering of Iowa business and community leaders Wednesday in D.C. that he’s ‘fiscally responsible and socially compassionate’ — another hint that he’s considering a potential third-party presidential bid.”
Ed Kilgore: “His current trajectory for 2024 is a crushing defeat for reelection — probably a humiliating loss to his old rival Jim Justice — in West Virginia, where he has become very unpopular and will be bucking a very likely Republican presidential landslide. Flirting with a presidential run is a more ego-flattering course of action. And if he achieves a credible threat of running and damaging Joe Biden, who knows, his fellow Democrats could reward him with an appointment to something after 2024 if he instead demurs.”
“And if all else fails, a proto-presidential candidacy wouldn’t be a bad advertisement for Joe Manchin’s availability for a cushy lobbying job or some other nice retirement sinecure. It all beats the hell out of getting defeated in a Senate race.”
“America is moving on from Covid-19. Ron DeSantis can’t stop talking about it,” Politico reports.
“With the Covid-triggered national health emergency set to expire Thursday, DeSantis has been crisscrossing the country touting his handling of the virus. DeSantis criticized ‘lockdown politicians’ during a visit to California and called Florida a “refuge of sanity” amid pandemic closures when he was in South Carolina last month. At Liberty University in Virginia two weeks ago, the governor said he bucked the political and medical establishment to keep Florida open.”
“Steve Schwarzman will hold off donating money to Ron DeSantis for now, after a meeting with the expected presidential aspirant left him unconvinced of the Florida governor’s White House prospects,” Bloomberg reports.
“Schwarzman, a Republican megadonor, went to Tallahassee in the last few weeks to visit the governor and assess his national standing… The billionaire co-founder of Blackstone Inc. is currently withholding support for anyone within the GOP field.”
“Two high-profile Iowa Republicans — Senate President Amy Sinclair and Iowa House Majority Leader Matt Windschitl — are endorsing Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ potential presidential bid as he returns to the state this weekend ahead of a likely presidential run,” the Des Moines Register reports.
“DeSantis is scheduled to hold a pair of events Saturday in Sioux Center and Cedar Rapids — the same day former President Donald Trump is set to appear at a rally in Des Moines.”
Washington Post: “In contrast to the almost uniform support for Trump in response to his indictment last month in a hush-money scheme, several of Trump’s current and prospective rivals were quiet on the verdict on Tuesday.” “While statements flooded in back then from many Republicans casting Trump as the target of a political attack, some in the party are now voicing misgivings about the potential political damage from the Carroll case.”
Nikki Haley wouldn’t comment to Hugh Hewitt on Donald Trump being found liable for sexual abuse in a civil trial.
Said Haley: “I’m not going to get into that. That’s something for Trump to respond to.” he added: “You know, I mean I think the focus has to be not to be distracted. That’s why we’ve got to leave the baggage and the negativity behind.”
“It’s just one more story, focusing on my former running mate that I know is a great fascination to members of the national media but I just don’t think it’s where the American people are focused.”— Mike Pence, in a NBC News interview, on Donald Trump found liable for sexually assaulting a writer.
“His response, to me, was ridiculous — that he didn’t even know the woman. I mean, you know, how many coincidences are we going to have here with Donald Trump, Brian? I mean, he must be the unluckiest S.O.B in the world. He just has random people who he has never met before, who are able to convince a jury that he sexually abused them. I mean, this guy. It is one person after another, one woman after another. The stories just continue to pile up.”— Former Gov. Chris Christie (R), on Fox News.
Sen. Todd Young (R-IN) told CNN that he wouldn’t support Donald Trump for president, highlighting his comments on Ukraine and Russia during last night’s town hall: “I can’t think of someone worse equipped to bring people together.”
He added: “I think President Trump’s judgment is is wrong in this case. President Putin and his government have engaged in war crimes.”
NBC News: “Pence, who is slowly taking steps toward a 2024 presidential bid, appears to be undeterred by the vitriol — or by primary polls that consistently show him registering in single digits with Republican voters. Instead, he increasingly sounds like a candidate who has decided to enter the race but isn’t ready to make that official.”
“What remains less clear is the path to the presidency for a candidate whose traditional conservative politics, establishment bona fides and regard for democratic institutions have all been out of vogue for Republicans in the Trump era. Many of former President Donald Trump’s hardest-core supporters treat him as a traitor because he rejected Trump’s entreaties to obstruct the electoral-vote count that sealed their fate in the 2020 election.”
“At the end of a three-day Sea Island retreat for Gov. Brian Kemp’s top donors, attendees couldn’t help but detect a change in the Republican’s messaging,” the Atlanta Journal Constitution reports.
“Where Kemp had once seemed to definitively rule out a 2024 run for the White House, he wasn’t as unequivocal at a Sunday evening briefing with dozens of supporters. Instead, he said his final decision will be up to him and his family.”
“Kemp’s aides and allies still don’t expect him to mount a presidential run. But his ability to stay in the national mix underscores his clout after overcoming both Donald Trump and Stacey Abrams in the same midterm cycle.”
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) told vaccine skeptic Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. that he wanted to “burn” the National Institutes of Health “to the ground,” according to a new interview with the Democratic presidential candidate, Semafor reports.
Kennedy said that DeSantis invited him to breakfast during the pandemic, to discuss what Kennedy described as his “science-based response” to the crisis.
Robert Kennedy Jr., the long-shot Democratic presidential candidate, has backed a conspiracy theory that the CIA was involved in the killing of his uncle, former President John F. Kennedy, arguing the evidence is “overwhelming,” The Hill reports. Said Kennedy: “I think it’s beyond a reasonable doubt at this point.”
New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu (R) told the Washington Post he was getting closer to making a presidential bid. Said Sununu: “I’m very strongly thinking about it. I’m leaning towards it, but I’ll come to a firm decision probably mid-June or so.”
Tim Scott is laying the groundwork for his upcoming 2024 presidential run, hiring two well-known Republican political consulting firms, Bloomberg reports.
Matthew Continetti: “Why is Trump doing so well? Is it because he has constructed ‘an impenetrable political force field,’ as National Review editor in chief Rich Lowry suggests? I’m skeptical. Polls are not the same as elections, and Trump’s electoral record is not especially impressive. Most voters do not like him, have voted against him, and more likely than not will vote against him again. Nor has Trump’s force field repelled attacks from his fellow Republicans. There haven’t been attacks to repel. Trump is advancing toward the GOP nomination and looks competitive against Biden for a simple reason: He faces no resistance.”
“This has been a truly invisible primary. Historically, the frontrunner comes under attack from his or her rivals.”
“Allies of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis are reportedly planning to execute a controversial money transfer to free up tens of millions of dollars to support his expected 2024 presidential campaign,” CNBC reports.
“DeSantis, widely considered former President Donald Trump’s top potential Republican primary rival, won his 2018 gubernatorial race and easily clinched reelection in 2022 with the help of a deep-pocketed state political committee. The group has raised more than $225 million for DeSantis and currently boasts nearly $86 million in cash on hand.”
“But if DeSantis decides to run for president — as he is widely expected to do in the coming weeks — he is legally barred from dumping that war chest into his federal campaign coffer. That’s because federal law bans the transfer of state-level political funds to a national election.”
“Instead, the governor’s allies could try to transfer them to a pro-DeSantis federal super PAC, which is required to remain independent of his potential presidential bid.”