DeSantis Travels Abroad, Plays Down 2024

'I am not a candidate, so we’ll see if and when that changes,' he says in Japan
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 24, 2023 6:30 AM CDT
DeSantis Travels Abroad, Plays Down 2024
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks during the Utah Republican Party Organizing Convention at Utah Valley University in Orem, Utah, on Saturday, April 22, 2023.   (Ryan Sun/The Deseret News via AP)

Allies of Ron DeSantis are getting antsy to have him formally launch for 2024, reports the Hill. "I would prefer him to be in the race right now," GOP Rep. Thomas Massie of Kentucky tells the outlet, acknowledging that the Florida governor appears to be losing political steam. However, it's a near certainty no such announcement will come this week because DeSantis has embarked on an overseas trip. He is in Japan Monday and also will visit South Korea, the UK, and Israel, the latter to mark the 75th anniversary of that nation's statehood, per the Wall Street Journal. He will meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday and deliver a speech there, per Politico.

Back home, the consensus is that DeSantis won't enter the 2024 race until after the Florida legislature wraps up its current session in May. In the meantime, polls show him losing ground to former President Trump as he battles political headwinds. Last week, seven members of Congress from Florida backed Trump, bringing the total to 11 so far, notes CNN. The governor, however, brushed aside such talk in Japan on Monday. “I am not a candidate, so we’ll see if and when that changes,” he told reporters. DeSantis met with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida on Monday amid what the governor's team calls a trade mission, though one that could burnish his foreign policy credentials as a candidate.

“If there is any urgency, it’s to make sure no third-place candidate emerges," says Massie, who the Hill notes is one of only three current members of Congress to have endorsed DeSantis. "Right now, it’s a heads-up race between Donald Trump and Ron DeSantis,” Massie said. “The urgency I feel is, the more cats and dogs that get in the race, the more they could siphon from Ron DeSantis.” (More Ron DeSantis stories.)

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