Donald Trump campaigned in California on Friday, simply two days after skipping the Republican presidential debate, trying to construct assist within the state with the most important prize in his social gathering’s 2024 White Home nominating race.
“Along with your assist, we’re going to win the California major,” the previous president mentioned to a crowd of Republican activists and social gathering members who gave him a raucous standing ovation when he took the stage on the California Republican Celebration conference in Anaheim.
Trump is the runaway frontrunner to be the social gathering’s nominee within the November 2024 common election, and he used his speech and social media posts on Friday to proceed to assault the candidates trailing far behind him.
He derided the ballot deficit of his nearest rival, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who trails Trump by 37 factors in the latest Reuters/Ipsos opinion ballot.
“I hit him so laborious he’s crashing like a chicken wounded in flight,” Trump mentioned.
Talking on the identical occasion on Friday night time, DeSantis didn’t point out Trump by title, as a substitute calling him “one in all my residents,” a reference to Trump’s major residence, his Mar-a-Lago property in Florida.
DeSantis solely made one light dig at his rival when he identified that Trump had taken credit score earlier within the day for turning Florida extra reliably Republican. DeSantis, nevertheless, gained a landslide gubernatorial election there in 2022.
“I simply want he hadn’t turned Georgia and Arizona blue,” DeSantis mentioned, referring to Trump’s defeat in these battleground states when he misplaced the 2020 election to Democratic President Joe Biden.
Earlier within the day, Trump lobbed one other avian-themed insult on his Fact Social media platform, this time at Nikki Haley, the previous governor of South Carolina, who has been climbing within the polls after robust debate performances.
“Birdbrain doesn’t have the temperament or the expertise to do the job,” Trump wrote of Haley, who served as his United Nations ambassador.
“Deliver it!,” Haley responded on X, previously known as Twitter.
Earlier within the day, DeSantis appeared at an occasion at a grain export terminal on the Port of Los Angeles, the place he mentioned that laws in California and elsewhere hamper American productiveness.
DeSantis additionally restated his criticism of Trump for skipping Wednesday’s debate on the Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley. “You gotta present up, you gotta reply questions and also you gotta defend your file,” DeSantis mentioned.
Democrats will simply win the liberal bastion of California in subsequent 12 months’s common election. However within the battle to change into the Republican nominee, California gives probably the most precious prize of all – delegates.
The nation’s most populous state has 169 delegates up for grabs on March 5, in a race the place successful delegates state by state determines who will seize the nomination.
Trump is about to profit from a latest rule change in how California’s delegates are awarded.
If he wins greater than 50% of the first vote within the Golden State, he’ll gather all 169 delegates, moderately than have them allotted on a proportional foundation.
Lots of the delegates who will attend the Republican nominating conference subsequent 12 months have been within the crowd on the Anaheim occasion.
Lori Cisneros, 50, a farmer and trainer from Tehachapi, mentioned she hopes to be a Republican delegate subsequent 12 months.
She mentioned she had taken a have a look at DeSantis and different Republican candidates, however nonetheless most popular Trump.
“Trump is the one I’m offered on,” she mentioned. “You’ll be able to’t deny all of the issues he did through the years to make America nice once more.”
(Reporting by Tim Reid and James Oliphant; modifying by Colleen Jenkins, Daniel Wallis, Cynthia Osterman and Michael Perry)