Calling the DeSantis campaign a “clear underdog”, he said: “In the first four states that matter, the polls are very tight, we’re still clearly behind. We’re down by double digits, we have work to do.” “
These comments were a remarkably blunt acknowledgment of vulnerability from within members of a prominent presidency, in contrast to the projection of confidence that other DeSantis allies often adopt. Cortes said he felt the distance between Trump and DeSantis might narrow once DeSantis’ personal and political story was shared more widely during the campaign. But he also rationalized the failure of DeSantis’ primary campaign by predicting healthy competition that could benefit Trump in the general election.
“If we don’t prevail — and I have every intention of winning, I haven’t signed up to come in second — but I will tell you this, if we don’t prevail, we’re going to see President Trump like this.” Will do better for the primary,” Cortes said.
Cortes’ comments came in a conversation with @CryptoLawyerz, an anonymous Twitter account popular among conservatives.
When asked about his comments, Cortez replied in an email that Trump “has debated through two consecutive presidential cycles, so he certainly has a lot of experience in that area. But I believe That Governor DeSantis will exceed expectations and inform a large audience about his amazing life, political record and winning agenda for the presidency.”
“Taking on a sitting or former president in the primaries always represents a significant challenge. I happily embraced that reality by joining the team. All of us at Team DeSantis are convinced that the governor has a strong path to the nomination, and the best chance of any Republican to defeat Biden in the general election.
DeSantis campaign spokesman Brian Griffin said in a statement, “Ron DeSantis has been underestimated in every race he has won and this time will be no different. Donald Trump will have to explain to Republican voters why he didn’t do the things he’s promising now in his first term as president. Governor Ron DeSantis delivered on his promises as governor and has the national vision we need to restore our country, clean up DC, and lead our great American comeback. This campaign is a marathon, not a sprint; We will be victorious.
Cortes endorsed DeSantis for the presidency in May after working on the Trump campaign in 2016 and 2020. He joined the Never Back Down super PAC that same month as an advisor and spokesperson. In a Twitter Space discussion, Cortes called DeSantis “the next natural evolution” of the America First movement and said he did not believe Trump was “the most conservative, patriotic, populist candidate who could win the general election.”
Cortez said of Trump, “I believe he hasn’t gained any voters since 2020, but he has lost some voters.”
In national polls, Trump maintains a steady, double-digit lead over his 2024 rivals, none of whom have managed to garner the same traction or enthusiasm as the former president. His grip on Republican voters has tightened after two indictments — one for alleged secret money payments to a porn actress, the other for allegedly mishandling classified documents. And although DeSantis is seen as the biggest threat to Trump, Florida’s governor has been trailing Trump in national and state polling — with one exception. Recent State Polls in Wisconsin It turns out that both are almost on par.
Next month, the 2024 Republican field will have the opportunity to participate in a debate organized by the Republican National Committee and moderated by Fox News. But Trump has made it clear that he is unlikely to attend. Cortes said it would be a “huge loss” if Trump did not debate. But he also suggested that DeSantis could benefit from his absence.
“Is Ron the debater that Trump is?” They said. “No, no he isn’t.”
“Absolutely Donald Trump is the master of it, there’s no doubt about it, right. When he comes on the debate stage, you know, and on his feet, in front of the microphone, he debates like Jack Nicklaus played golf, there’s no doubt about it,” Cortes said.
In addition to providing some of the most candid comments about the race from within the DeSantis camp, Cortez spoke about some of the personal attacks and backlash she faced for supporting the governor of Florida instead of Trump.
“It’s an honor for me to work for (Trump),” he said.
But he added, “I believe we can be rational about where he went wrong and what is the way forward.”