An independent super PAC was formed by a man who has supported former President Donald Trump to help Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis' potential run for the White House.
According to McClatchy newspapers' Washington, D.C., bureau, political strategist John Thomas shifted his allegiance from Trump to DeSantis and has set up the "Ron to the Rescue" super PAC.
Thomas said he formed the political action committee because DeSantis is "the future of the party. ... As much as people in the party still like Trump, they like winning more," Thomas, founder and president of the political advertising and consulting firm Thomas Partners Strategies, told McClatchy.
Thomas said he formed the super PAC as a result of the poor showing by Trump-backed candidates in the midterms.
"If you're a Trump supporter, I think it's fair to say that Trump was not a net positive," in the midterm elections, Thomas said.
He noted he first began organizing the political action committee during the summer, "but was convinced to go ahead with it after the midterm results.
"What was really surprising about it was not just the original people who were pro-DeSantis, but our group was getting populated with people that are kind of like myself. We're not ‘never Trumpers.' We're actually quite pro-Trump. We just want to win."
But Thomas said he expects a Trump vs. DeSantis campaign to get nasty.
"It's going to become a civil war, and that's inevitable," Thomas said. "Trump is not going to go quietly into the night. The former president is known to be vindictive against people who defy him. But the time has come to pass the gavel and it's very clear that DeSantis is the one who can win and the former president is not.
"We think DeSantis is the future of the party who can put together the coalitions necessary, particularly with college-educated white women, Latinos, and these critical groups."
Thomas said his super PAC will commend Trump for having a "spine of steel," for having refocused the agenda of the Republican Party electorate.
"But we need to be appreciating him as the party elder, and less of a party leader," Thomas said. "While we're very thankful for Trump's service, it's time to move on."
Trump, turning a deaf ear to establishment calls to hold off and Democrat efforts to stop him, officially declared his 2024 presidential campaign Tuesday night.
"This will not be my campaign," he said. "This will be our campaign all together, because the only force strong enough to defeat the massive corruption we are up against is you the American people. It's true.
"The American people, the greatest people on earth. We love them all. And we love both sides. We're going to bring people together. We're going to unify."
DeSantis, who has not announced whether he will run for president in 2024, did not respond to a request for comment from McClatchy.
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