Trump’s bid gets off to ‘unusual’ start as GOP holds out for rivals

Donald Trump’s 2024 election bid got off to a “highly unusual” start after a number of Republicans refused to attend his event in South Carolina, Grand Old Party (GOP) insiders have claimed. Trump’s team were reportedly pleading with Palmetto State Republicans to join the former POTUS at South Carolina’s State House in Columbia. However, while Governor Henry McMaster and Senator Lindsey Graham will attend the event, several leading GOP officials have snubbed the invitation.

Ex-UN Ambassador Nikki Haley and Senator Tim Scott, who both hail from South Carolina, have been earmarked as potential dark horses for the upcoming Republican primary race and will not accompany Trump during his visit.

Republican reservations about joining Trump on the campaign trail also come as the ex-POTUS opted to hold an invite-only event for up to 500 people rather than his usual high-energy rallies.

GOP insiders have suggested Trump’s 2024 campaign has not gotten off to the best of starts in South Carolina.

Mick Mulvaney, who served as Trump’s White House chief of staff between January 2019 and March 2020, told Express.co.uk: “He’s having difficulty having people show up, especially elected officials, which is highly unusual.”

He added: “The fact that he is not doing a rally is noteworthy because that’s what he does, that’s his style, that’s who Donald Trump is.

“I think that some folks will perceive that they can’t help him anymore, others will perceive that he actually hurts them and that was certainly the case in the 2022 midterm elections.”

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Mulvaney also claimed Trump’s main reason for visiting South Carolina was due to its significance as an early-voting state in next year’s GOP primary.

However, a Republican fundraiser suggested the Palmetto State was turning against the ex-POTUS.

Noelle Nikpour said: “They’re waiting to see what Nikki Haley and Tim Scott do.

“Not a lot of GOP officials are thrilled with Trump anymore.

“The Trump brand isn’t as strong as it once was.”

Ms Nikpour also told Express.co.uk: “That’s not to discount the brand altogether because he still has a lot of support from his base.”

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Despite concern from some Republican insiders, Trump’s 2024 team took aim at those questioning whether the 76-year-old was still the conservative kingmaker.

Spokesperson Steven Cheung said: “President Trump is going to South Carolina to unveil his leadership team, which will show the significant support he has throughout the state, from grassroots leaders to elected officials.”

Cheung, who worked in the White House as Special Assistant to the President and Assistant Communications Director, added: “President Trump is the undeniable leader of the Republican Party and anyone who questions that is simply living in a false reality.”

Trump launched his third consecutive White House campaign on November 15 after a disappointing set of midterm election results for the Republican Party.

Critics have been quick to suggest momentum is flowing away from Trump as opinion polls suggest Florida Governor Ron DeSantis could topple the ex-POTUS in a head-to-head primary race.

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Several other GOP officials are also reportedly mulling over entering the contest, including ex-Vice President Mike Pence.

Ms Haley hinted at launching her own White House campaign earlier this week.

The 51-year-old told Fox News: “I had a great working relationship with the [former] President.

“I appreciate all the foreign policy issues we worked on together, but what I will tell you is: the survival of America matters.

“It’s bigger than one person and when you are looking at the future of America, I think it’s time for new generational change.”



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