Trump Loses Endorsement to DeSantis Over Attack on Kayleigh McEnany

AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki

On Tuesday evening, former President Donald Trump used his social media platform, Truth Social, to launch an attack on his former press secretary, Kayleigh McEnany.

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The attack didn’t sit well with many Republicans, and it has now cost him at least one endorsement. State Rep. James Spillane (R-Deerfield) told the NH Journal he’s switching his endorsement to Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.

“I can no longer continue endorsing former President Trump,” Spillane said. “I am officially withdrawing my endorsement, as his most recent attack on Kayleigh McEnany is beyond comprehension and explanation. Against my deepest hopes that Trump had learned some measure of control, he has attacked those who have been his staunchest supporters with no regard for their loyalty.”

In his post, Trump accused McEnany of reporting bogus poll data during her appearance on Fox News, and referred to her as “Kayleigh ‘Milktoast’ McEnany.” Without citing a specific poll, Trump claimed he was actually leading by 34 points over Ron DeSantis, rather than the reported 25 points. In addition to the incorrectly spelled insult, Trump piled on his attack of McEnany and suggested that she is better suited for the “RINOS & Globalists,” and said her network, Fox News, should only employ “REAL Stars.”

Spillane was one of 50 Republican members of the New Hampshire House of Representatives who endorsed Trump’s candidacy in April. Spillane is the fourth state rep to flip from Trump to DeSantis in recent weeks, and more are likely to come.

“The people of New Hampshire, and the people of this nation, deserve messages of positivity and hope, not negative attacks and degradation as we have seen is the hallmark of the Biden administration,” Spillane said.“I cannot condone the vitriol and disregard for others that Trump has been exhibiting, and I withdraw my endorsement immediately. I am endorsing Ron DeSantis for president in 2024. I pray for the nation that DeSantis remains true to his positive messaging and continues on to win the Republican primary with his vision of positive American success.”

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The backlash against Trump’s criticism of his loyal and outspoken ally has sparked strong reactions within New Hampshire’s conservative and MAGA GOP circles. Some local Trump supporters have gone as far as claiming that Trump’s post is a “deep fake” created by DeSantis.

“I’ve got [Trump] die-hards telling me they don’t believe it and they say it’s fake, that he didn’t post it,” said Kate Day, the former chair of Cheshire County Republicans, who is a DeSantis supporter.

How many more Trump backers are going to switch their endorsement? It’s impossible to guess, but I suspect more are coming. As much as I hope Trump will learn from this and modify his behavior, I’m not confident that he will.

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