But the response to his announcement offered new hints that he might not be as successful as he hopes to be. Yes, a number of elected officials and prominent individuals quickly lined up to support him, a show of strength fairly unusual for someone making an announcement so early and with no other official candidates in the race. A number of former allies and donors, though, took the opportunity to indicate that they were ready to move on to someone else.
Given that Trump’s obvious goal was to use his announcement as a measure of his strength, we decided it would be useful to see who had been prompted to weigh in, one way or another. For the most part, Trump’s backers come from the cadre of loyalists who have stood with him all along. Those opposed or sitting out are often those with their own ambitions — plus, unexpectedly, one of Trump’s children.
Here’s the list. Did we miss someone important? Let us know.
Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-N.C.) — Posted a video supporting Trump after his announcement.
Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) — Writing for the Daily Caller, Gaetz declared: “Only Trump can be trusted to enact the ‘America First’ agenda he ran on in 2016. We won’t accept any imitation.”
Rep. Tony Gonzales (R-Tex.) — He tweeted, “I look forward to President Trump once again righting the ship.”
Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) — Offered her “complete and total endorsement” when speaking to reporters.
Rep. Ronny Jackson (R-Tex.) — Tweeted an energetic endorsement: “I WILL BE VOTING FOR PRESIDENT TRUMP IN 2024!!!!!!”
MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell — Attended Trump’s announcement, where he — jokingly? — predicted that Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) would also endorse Trump.
Rep. Troy E. Nehls (R-Tex.) — Was at Mar-a-Lago on Tuesday and offered his “complete and total endorsement.”
House Republican Conference Chair Elise Stefanik (N.Y.) — “I am proud to endorse Donald J. Trump for President in 2024,” she said in a statement to Breitbart. “I fully support him running again.”
Melania Trump — For some reason, Breitbart News felt that this needed to be confirmed.
Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.) — Quickly offered his support for Trump: “He doesn’t have to learn the ropes. He knows the ropes.”
Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Ala.) — After having been targeted by Trump in the GOP primary for Senate, Brooks lambasted Trump’s 2024 bid, saying that other candidates would be “vastly superior” to “the loser Donald Trump has proven himself to be.”
Donor Ken Griffin — Speaking to Politico, Griffin said that “for a litany of reasons, I think it’s time to move on to the next generation.”
Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) — Hutchinson expressed his opposition after Trump’s announcement. “The message he delivered last night … was the same one that lost the last election cycle and would lose the next.”
Donor Ronald Lauder — A spokesman confirmed Lauder’s opposition to CNBC.
Former acting Trump chief of staff Mick Mulvaney — Mulvaney was skeptical in a CNN interview, saying, “I think he’s the only Republican who could lose.”
The editors of the National Review — In a harsh editorial (mirroring one offered before the 2016 nomination fight), the magazine bashed Trump: “It’s too early to know what the rest of the field will look like, except it will offer much better alternatives than Trump.”
South Dakota Gov. Kristi L. Noem (R) — Told the New York Times that Trump didn’t offer “the best chance” for the party in 2024. This probably stings more than most; Noem was so supportive of Trump at one point that she presented him with a model of Mount Rushmore with his head added.
Former vice president Mike Pence — With characteristic vagueness, Pence told ABC and the Times that “I think we’ll have better choices.”
Rep. Greg Pence (R-Ind.) — Pence remained loyal first to his family. “I’m gonna back my brother,” he said, adding that he would encourage him to run.
Former secretary of state Mike Pompeo — Tweeted a dig at Trump, saying the party needed leaders who were “not staring in the rearview mirror claiming victimhood.”
Donor Stephen Schwarzman — “America does better when its leaders are rooted in today and tomorrow, not today and yesterday,” the former Trump donor said in a statement to Axios.
Virginia Lt. Gov. Winsome Earle-Sears (R) — Speaking on Fox Business, Earle-Sears said: “I could not support him. I just couldn’t.”
New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu (R) — Called Trump a “loser.”
Waiting or staying out
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) — Asked by reporters whether he was prepared to endorse Trump, McCarthy said, “You guys are crazy.”
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) — “The way I’m going to go into this presidential primary season is to stay out of it,” he said at a news conference. “I don’t have a dog in that fight.”