Rising GOPers like DeSantis, Oz begin to drift from Trump

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Rising GOPers like DeSantis, Oz begin to drift from Trump

With the 2022 midterm elections less than five months away, some Republicans are beginning to signal a shift away from former President Donald Trump and his influence on the GOP.

In Florida, Gov. Ron DeSantis is hesitating in asking the 45th president for his endorsement on his reelection bid, Politico reported Wednesday.

The Republican governor has not asked — and has no plans to — Trump for his endorsement in his re-election bid this November, four people connected to DeSantis and Trump told the outlet.

The move comes as dozens of Trump-endorsed candidates — including Pennsylvania Senate candidate Dr. Mehmet Oz — have sailed to victory in their primary elections.

DeSantis has been floated as a potential GOP contender for president in 2024 — closely following behind Trump. As he avoids the former president’s backing for now, many Trump supporters are also turning their focus toward the Florida governor.

Donald Trump
Former President Donald Trump, whose influence on the GOP seems to be waning ahead of the 2022 midterm elections.
AP

A weekend Politico analysis of campaign finance data found that at least 10 donors who spent $24 million on Trump’s re-election bid in 2020 have since donated approximately $3.4 million to the Republican governor’s political committee, Friends of Ron DeSantis. 

If DeSantis is endorsed by Trump in the coming months, it is unclear how much the governor would advertise it as the former president faces an onslaught of accusations related to overturning the 2020 presidential election from the House Select Committee investigating the Jan. 6 riot.

Gov. Ron DeSantis
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, rumored to be eying a run in the 2024 presidential election, is one of the rising GOP stars distancing himself from former President Donald Trump.
AP

As the committee has held several live hearings featuring testimony from Trump allies, family members and former White House aides, at least one Trump-endorsed candidate is quietly adjusting his campaign messaging that previously used the former president’s name. 

Meanwhile, an Axios analysis of Oz’s social media and campaign website found that the Republican candidate is no longer touting his Trump endorsement which was heavily referenced leading up to the May 17 primary. 

Specifically, social media banners on Oz’s official Facebook and Twitter accounts no longer advertise him as being “Endorsed By Trump.” Instead, both accounts feature a banner that read “Thank you, Pennsylvania” along with a solo photo of the celebrity doctor.

 Dr. Mehmet Oz
Pennsylvania Senate candidate Dr. Mehmet Oz, another rising GOP star no longer touting his endorsement from Trump.
AP

The Facebook banner – also known as a cover photo – was changed on June 12. The Twitter photo was also changed by that date, according to screen grabs collected by WayBack Time Machine

Oz’s bio’s on both of the accounts also no longer list him as a “Trump endorsed candidate for US Senate,” and simply says “Thank you, Pennsylvania.” 

Even the Republican’s posts have shifted away from consistent pro-Trump language. 

Axios found that Oz’s official Twitter account mentioned the former president over 70 times between April 9 and May 17. The account has not mentioned Trump’s name in a post since. 

Dr. Mehmet Oz
Dr. Mehmet Oz’s social media banners now read “Thank you, Pennsylvania” instead of “Endorsed By Trump.”
Twitter/@DrOz
 Dr. Mehmet Oz
Celebrity GOP candidate Dr. Mehmet Oz used to brag about being “Endorsed By Trump.”
Twitter/@DrOz

Oz has also stopped mentioning Trump in posts from his account on the Trump-run social media site Truth Social. 

Oz’s team has defended the shift in messaging, telling Axios, “The endorsement is the first endorsement listed on our website and we changed the banner to thank Pennsylvanians after the recount was completed.” 

While Trump’s backing is listed at the top of the “endorsements” section of Oz’s official campaign website, it used to appear on the front page of the site as recently as June 11

And even staunch supporters of the former president have publicly expressed the need to drift away from Trump now. 

“Donald Trump is disconnected from the base,” Amy Kremer, chair of Women for America First, told Politico this week

“It’s time for those of us in the movement to get back to basics, back to our first principles,” she added. “We were here long before President Trump came along, and we’re going to be here long afterward.”

It is unclear if Trump will pursue a third presidential election bid in 2024, though he is expected to announce a decision following fall midterms. 

Even if more Republicans jump ship, the 45th president doesn’t appear fazed, telling the New Yorker on Monday, “I think I would win.”

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