A group of former officials who served in the Trump administration are planning to support Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis in his campaign for the Republican presidential nomination in 2024.
The group of at least 100 people calls itself “The Eight-Year Alliance,” according to Fox News, saying they want a candidate who can serve for eight years, which would be two terms in office.
The group said it wants to avoid former President Donald Trump “immediately becoming a lame-duck president.”
DeSantis is “a proven winner,” a source connected with the group told Fox News, and a leader who “does what he says.”
Fox News said it does not have the roster of the group, but said it includes former Acting Associate Attorney General Jesse Panuccio, former Special Assistant to the Secretary of Defense Will Bushman, former Counselor to the Secretary and White House Liaison at the Department of Labor Pedro Allende, former Senior Counsel and Senior Advisor to the Secretary of Commerce James Uthmeier and former Principal Deputy General Counsel at the Department of Commerce David Dewhirst.
The sources told Fox News they were “proud” to serve with Trump when he tried to “shake things up” but have now moved on to DeSantis.
Republicans opposing Trump is nothing new. Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign saw the rise of a “never Trump” movement led by Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah. In 2020, multiple Republicans had were affiliated with the Trump administration endorsed President Joe Biden, according to Forbes.
DeSantis focused on what a two-term president could accomplish in terms of the Supreme Court during a speech to the National Religious Broadcasters Convention, according to The Washington Post.
“I think if you look over the next two presidential terms, there is a good chance that you could be called upon to seek replacements for Justice Clarence Thomas and Justice Samuel Alito and the issue with that is, you can’t really do better than those two,” he said.
Criticizing Chief Justice John Roberts, he added, “If you replace a Clarence Thomas with somebody like a Roberts or somebody like that, then you’re going to actually see the court move to the left, and you can’t do that.”
DeSantis further teased the possibility that two members of the court’s liberal wing — Obama appointees Justice Sonia Sotomayor and Justice Elena Kagan might retire in the court of the next two terms.
“So it is possible that in those eight years, we have the opportunity to fortify justices … Alito and Thomas as well as actually make improvements with those others, and if you were able to do that, you would have a 7-2 conservative majority on the supreme court that would last a quarter-century,” he said.
Fissures within the GOP will complicate the DeSantis campaign, according to Reuters.
“You can’t court MAGA while courting the rest of the party. That’s a difficult decision he is going to have to make,” said Chris Stirewalt, a Republican analyst with the American Enterprise Institute.
Noting that the field has multiple candidates, which to date include former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina, businessman Vivek Ramaswamy, former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, radio host Larry Elder and businessman Perry Johnson, campaign veteran Sarah Isgur, said with so many options, DeSantis has to target Trump supporters to win.
“He can’t win the nomination with only non-Trump votes. He has to peel voters away from Trump,” she said.
Republican pollster Whit Ayres said the Republican Party is between 30 percent and 35 percent solidly behind Trump, about 10 percent of the party is solidly against him, and the rest is a group he called “maybe-Trumpers.”
“It looks to me like DeSantis is going after the always-Trumpers rather than the maybe-Trumpers,” Ayres said.
He said instead, DeSantis should try to connect with “voters looking for an alternative to Trump that he’s the right guy.”
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.