(The Epoch Times)—House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) predicted that it won’t be Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis who becomes the Republican Party’s nominee for the presidential race.
Instead, he said in a Sunday Fox Business interview that President Donald Trump will likely be the party’s choice for 2024. In primary polls, President Trump is far ahead of Mr. DeSantis and other GOP candidates—coming in spite of four indictments targeting the former president.
“I think he will be the nominee,” Mr. McCarthy told Fox’s “Sunday Morning Futures.” “And the thing is, President Trump is stronger today than he was in 2016 or 2020, and there’s a reason why. They saw the policies of what he was able to do with America, putting America first, making our economy stronger. We didn’t have inflation. We didn’t have these battles around the world. We didn’t look weak around the world.”
After announcing a bid for the White House in May, Mr. DeSantis has failed to gain much momentum. As of Sunday, a RealClearPolitics average of polls shows President Trump has 56.6 percent support, compared to Mr. DeSantis’ 12.7 percent support.
A poll from Quinnipiac University this week showed President Trump with a 50-point lead over Mr. DeSantis—62 percent to 12 percent, respectively. That poll noted that Mr. DeSantis’ support has dropped in the past month, down from 18 percent.
All the other presidential candidates—including businessman Vivek Ramaswamy, former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, and former Vice President Mike Pence—are all in the single digits, according to the Quinnipiac poll.
“I served with Ron DeSantis, he’s not at the same level as President Trump by any shape or form. He would not have gotten elected without President Trump’s endorsement,” the Republican House speaker said Sunday, referring to previous comments that the former president said about Mr. DeSantis victory in 2018.
Also in the interview, Mr. McCarthy was asked about the prospect of a government shutdown. If Congress doesn’t pass spending legislation by the end of September, a partial shutdown may be initiated.
“I don’t think that would work anywhere,” he told Fox Business. “A shutdown would only give strength to the Democrats who would give the power to Biden … I actually want to achieve something.”
On Sunday, NBC News’ “Meet the Press” aired an interview President Trump, who said he made up his own mind about the 2020 election being “rigged,” saying that “it was my decision.”
Asked why he dismissed the views of lawyers in the White House and his campaign about the 2020 election, he responded: “Because I didn’t respect them.”
President Trump singled out former U.S. Attorney General William Barr, who told him that he had lost, as one of the lawyers whose advice he did not follow. “I listened to some people,” he said. “Guys like Bill Barr, who was a stiff, but he wasn’t there at the time. But he didn’t do his job because he was afraid.”
Also in the interview, the NBC host, Kristen Welker, asked about the four criminal indictments that he faces. President Trump said that he’s not concerned with the prospect of prison time.
“I don’t even think about it,” the former president said. “I’m built a little differently I guess, because I have had people come up to me and say, ‘How do you do it, sir? How do you do it?’ I don’t even think about it. I truly feel that, in the end, we’re going to win.”
As for Mr. DeSantis, the Florida governor has recently leaned into policies that he implemented during the COVID-19 pandemic. During a recent news conference, the governor insisted that his state won’t implement mask mandates or lockdown orders as multiple schools, hospitals, and offices around the United States re-implemented mandatory masking starting in August.
“They are trying to do this again,” Mr. DeSantis said earlier this month. “And what we in the state of Florida will say is, ‘No, we are not letting you get away with it again.’”
Meanwhile, in a statement last week, Mr. DeSantis took a sharp stance against the latest COVID-19 booster that was recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
“I will not stand by and let the FDA and CDC use healthy Floridians as guinea pigs for new booster shots that have not been proven to be safe or effective,” his statement said.
Reuters contributed to this report.