By Rebecca Shabad and Bianca Seward
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who’s been trailing Donald Trump in 2024 GOP primary polls, doubts the former president can be re-elected if he’s convicted of a felony.
“I think the chance of getting elected president after being convicted of a felony is as close to zero as you can get,” DeSantis said in an interview with CBS News.
Anchor Norah O’Donnell asked DeSantis whether he agreed with former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, another Republican presidential candidate, who said Americans won’t vote for a convicted criminal. She also asked DeSantis whether he believes voters will elect someone who faces 91 criminal counts, as Trump does.
DeSantis said that even before the four indictments were brought against Trump, he didn’t think he should run again for president.
Asked for comment, Trump campaign spokesperson Steven Cheung shot back by saying, “Team DeSantis and Always Back Down were caught red-handed as one of their lawyers was outed as the mastermind of falsely trying to use the 14th Amendment to disenfranchise voters and interfere in the election.”
He was referring to a recent report by The Washington Post that said a GOP election lawyer with ties to three of Trump’s primary opponents, including DeSantis, has been involved in efforts in different states to get Trump removed from the ballot using the 14th Amendment.
“DeSantis knows he has no shot of ever becoming the nominee — he is slipping to third place after all — but cozying up to Never Trumpers and lunatic Democrats is an all-time low for him, almost as low as his poll numbers,” Cheung said.
The New York case resulted from New York County District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s investigation into a hush-money payment to adult film star Stormy Daniels during Trump’s 2016 campaign. The case in Florida, which stemmed from one of special counsel Jack Smith’s federal investigations, involves Trump’s handling of classified documents that he took to his Mar-a-Lago estate after he left the White House.
The charges Trump faces in Washington resulted from Smith’s other probe into Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election. The Georgia case is centered on schemes to reverse Joe Biden’s election victory and declare Trump the winner in the state.
Rebecca Shabad is a politics reporter for NBC News based in Washington.