MSNBC’sMorning Joe host Joe Scarborough blasted former President Donald Trump, comparing him to “fat Elvis” of 1977, struggling to get through his rallies as a new poll shows Florida Governor Ron DeSantis edging ahead of Mr Trump in a future 2024 Republican presidential primary in New Hampshire.
The panellists on Thursday’s edition of the programme discussed a poll from The University of New Hampshire Survey Center showing Mr DeSantis ahead of Mr Trump in the state.
“When provided with a list of Republicans who are thought by observers to be considering running for President in 2024, likely New Hampshire Republican primary voters are split between DeSantis and Trump, with 39 percent preferring the Florida governor and 37 percent supporting the former president,” according to the poll.
Michael Steele, a former chairman of the Republican National Convention who served as the Lieutenant Governor of Maryland between 2003 and 2007, said on MSNBC that “Governor DeSantis has very craftily and stealthily in some sense positioned himself as a better version of Donald Trump, people say without the baggage. I think he’s just as dangerous if not more so, just looking at what he’s doing in Florida”.
Mr Steele said the poll reveals “a pathway” for Mr DeSantis with voters who have grown less supportive of Mr Trump, specifically citing the voters who voted for Republicans down-ballot in Georgia in 2020, but chose not to vote in the presidential election, allowing President Joe Biden to become the first Democratic presidential candidate to win the state since 1992.
He added that those voters who’ve gone sour on the former president are a “problem that Trump presents for the party going into . DeSantis right now seems to be a gateway to something that gives them a competitive edge over the Democrats at the presidential level”.
MSNBC host Willie Geist said Mr Trump’s “baggage” is his “backward-looking” point of view to go over grievances from the past, including the baseless claim that the 2020 election was stolen from him.
“A lot of Republicans that you talk to, and I do, too, believe DeSantis could at least be forward-looking and not look back at an election he claims was stolen,” Geist said.
“You look at his speeches, even the one this past week, they are all backward-looking and they’re all the greatest hits from 2016, and not performed well,” Scarborough said of Mr Trump.
“With all due respect to the king of rock and roll, this is fat Elvis in ‘77, huffing and puffing and sweating and bloated and like, barely being able to get this … the scarves out from around his neck, throwing them into the crowd,” he added. “This is not a pretty sight. I just don’t think Republicans want this.”