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DeSantis says he’s Trump’s replacement

PONCA, Oklahoma (AP) — Ron DeSantis was on Saturday at all times to claim he was the front-runner to replace Donald Trump despite threats to overturn the former president’s indictment. headed for the red-hot Oklahoma rodeo, far off the presidential boardwalk. 2024 Republican primaries.

The governor of Florida will show his strength by campaigning in one of a dozen states scheduled to hold the Republican primary on Super Tuesday next March, weeks after the earliest state vote. tried to show off. He also cited the support of Republican Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt, who was the first governor to formally endorse DeSantis.

DeSantis says his track record puts him at the forefront of the next generation of Republicans. But to a sweaty audience fueled by billboards in the yard, the governor introduced a loftier theme and asked the American people to embrace his call for a new national leader.

“Our duty is to defend what our founders called the Sacred Fire of Liberty,” DeSantis, wearing cowboy boots, told an audience at an event hall outside Tulsa, the state’s second-largest city. rice field.

He documented the moments that brought Americans together during times of crisis, including the Declaration of Independence, the Battle of Gettysburg, and the Normandy Landings during World War II.

“Our generation is now called upon to carry this torch. It is not a responsibility we should shirk,” DeSantis said. “This is a responsibility we welcome. We must stand firm for truth and remain steadfast in defending America’s core and enduring principles.”

DeSantis then stopped at a rodeo in Ponca, about 120 kilometers northwest of Tulsa, to pose for a photo with his wife, Casey, and their 3-year-old daughter, Mamie, who wore a pink cowboy hat.

“Freedom is one generation away from dying out,” he said at a rodeo where the stands were draped in red, white and blue.

Trump’s courtroom drama is both an opportunity and a challenge for DeSantis and other rivals in the former president’s campaign. Multiple criminal cases initially boosted President Trump’s vote numbers and fundraising efforts, but ultimately undermined President Trump’s claim to be the best general election candidate against President Joe Biden. It may weaken.

But direct criticism of Mr Trump over criminal prosecution could alienate the former president’s core supporters and voters whose rivals are seeking to convert. This is especially true of Mr. DeSantis, who continues to criticize Mr. Trump for policy, but chooses to criticize the former president rather than openly trying to capitalize on it.

On Saturday, the governor lamented the “increasing weaponization of federal agencies against people they don’t like.”

“There’s a new FBI director on day one, and we’re going to use that power to hold people accountable,” DeSantis told the crowd outside Tulsa, to thunderous cheers.

His super PAC also released a further video of Mr. DeSantis appearing at the North Carolina Republican convention on Friday night.

“I think this country needs one standard of justice,” he said in the video. “We need a president to do something about it.”

Indictments aside, Mr. DeSantis has increasingly criticized Mr. Trump for rejecting the idea of ​​changing Social Security and Medicare spending, even though he didn’t name it directly. The former president rejected the idea of ​​curtailing the program.

Florida’s governor also said Trump’s opposition to abortion rights wasn’t very pious, given Trump’s “hard” criticism of DeSantis, who signed a bill banning most abortions under six weeks’ gestation. suggested.

Trump himself campaigned at Republican state conventions in North Carolina and Georgia on Saturday, calling the lawsuit against him “absurd” and “baseless.” He has called on his supporters to rally ahead of a court appearance in South Florida on Tuesday, making his case likely to receive more attention than the 2024 Republican primary for at least a few more days. I’m sure.

The Justice Department case further deepens the legal crisis for Trump, who has already been indicted in New York and faces additional investigations in Washington and Atlanta, which could lead to further criminal charges. There is also But legal experts, as well as Trump’s own aides, have long viewed the Mar-a-Lago probe as the most dangerous legal threat of all the various investigations Trump has faced. rice field.

Stitt’s endorsement, on the other hand, is critical to making a difference far from Florida. DeSantis traveled to Iowa last month to kick off the campaign, then to New Hampshire and South Carolina, both of which are voting early on their primary dates, giving the majority of candidates the attention. are collecting. However, an early Oklahoma stop indicated that DeSantis intended to be in the race for the long haul.

And while Mr. DeSantis is Governor of Florida and is known more for his beaches and theme parks than for his calf ropes and bull rides, Mr. DeSantis’ stop at Ponca was, as they say, his first. It wasn’t a rodeo.

His wife finished runner-up at the NCAA Equestrian National Championships at the University of Charleston. In March, before officially running for president, DeSantis skipped the Conservative Political Action Conference and instead addressed the Republican Party dinner in Houston, before heading to a rodeo in Houston with his family. .

https://www.abcactionnews.com/news/state/desantis-argues-hes-top-trump-alternative-even-as-ex-presidents-indictment-overshadows-2024-race DeSantis says he’s Trump’s replacement

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