According to national polls, Donald Trump consistently leads Florida Governor Ron DeSantis by double digits; a poll taken in December by Cygnal is the only survey to show a slight gap of five points between the two. Still, many pundits are concerned about the former president's ability to win in the general election against the Democrats' fired-up anti-Trump base. And then there is the issue of Trump's ego.
Bill Mitchell, one of the former president's top Twitter influencers, had supported the idea of a Trump-DeSantis ticket in 2024. But following the comments Trump recently made in a conversation recorded on his plane, Mitchell recently announced that he has disembarked from the Trump train.
"Ron would have not been governor if it wasn't for me, and that's okay," said Trump. "Number one, he wouldn't have gotten the nomination, and number two, he wouldn't have beaten his Democrat opponent. So then when I hear he might run … I consider that very disloyal. To me, it is; it's always about loyalty, but for a lot of people it's not."
As a recent guest on the "Jenna Ellis in the Morning" program, Mitchell responded to those comments and others Trump has made about Florida's governor.
"When President Trump came out and made the statements that DeSantis was a fraud on his COVID response and DeSantis was a globalist, to me, these are provably false statements, and that was a bridge too far," Mitchell said.
So he has decided that DeSantis is the better choice.
"Not only would he have all of the leadership qualities that I look for, but he'd be more electable in the general election -- for one reason because the establishment would not oppose him," Mitchell added.
But Mitchell stressed that if Trump wins the nomination, then he will still advocate for him.
On that note, a conservative activist says a large GOP primary field in 2024 could work out to Trump's advantage.
As the 2024 presidential campaign draws nearer, Gary Bauer of the Chairman of the Campaign for Working Families (CWF) says there appears to be a unity problem in both parties, with some Democrats wanting to diss President Biden and put someone else up for 2024.
The same can be said about the GOP, as polling shows a majority of Republicans would prefer someone other than former president Donald Trump.
"There are going to be a lot of splits in both parties," Bauer predicts. "The big challenge for both parties will be which one of those parties can unite better than the other one when all is said and done."
But in Trump's case, Bauer thinks a big field can work to his advantage.
"The more candidates that run in the Republican primaries, the more likely that Donald Trump wins re-nomination, because Donald Trump has the largest plurality in the Republican Party than any other candidate," the political activist explains. "The only one even remotely close is DeSantis, and DeSantis has not been tested yet on the national stage the way Donald Trump has been."
As author and political activist David Horowitz recently told AFN, Trump's time in office will also likely play in his favor.
At the same time a Trump-DeSantis feud is gaining steam, Nikki Haley announced this week she will formally announce a White House bid February 15. That announcement would make her the first opponent of Trump to join the GOP primary.
Haley, who is 51, served as South Carolina governor and worked for President Trump as his United Nations ambassador.
Political analyst Dr. Charles Dunn tells AFN it would be foolish to outright dismiss her.
"She is a fighter. She's full of fire and she will catch hold," he says. "I'm not predicting that she'll win but her campaign will be very forceful."
Editor's Note: This story has been updated with comments from Dr. Charles Dunn.