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Ron DeSantis drops out of presidential race, endorses Trump

Ron DeSantis has dropped out of the 2024 presidential race and endorsed former President Donald Trump. File Photo by Tannen Maury/UPI
Ron DeSantis has dropped out of the 2024 presidential race and endorsed former President Donald Trump. File Photo by Tannen Maury/UPI

Jan. 21 (UPI) -- Ron DeSantis has dropped out of the 2024 presidential race and endorsed former President Donald Trump, who would often refer to him by the nicknames "Meatball Ron" and "Ron DeSanctimonious" on the campaign trail.

DeSantis surprisingly announced the end of his campaign in a video message, with accompanying text quoting Winston Churchill on failure.

"I decided to run for president to fight for those who have been forgotten in this country," DeSantis said in his video. "This is America's time for choosing. We can choose to allow a border invasion or we can choose to stop it. We can choose reckless borrowing and spending or we can choose to limit government and lower inflation. We can choose political indoctrination or we can choose classical education."

DeSantis said he launched his campaign "to bring accountability to government" and to "restore sanity" to society, as he went into a message that Americans should be afraid of the "indoctrination" of children and the "decline of this nation."

The Florida governor said that, after the Iowa caucuses, he prayed about the way forward for his campaign. "It's clear to me that Republican primary voters want to give Donald Trump another chance. They watched his presidency get stymied by relentless resistance and they see Democrats using law-fare to this day to attack him," DeSantis said.

Florida Governor and Republican presidential candidate Ron DeSantis, seeking votes in the Iowa Caucus, waves as he arrives to speak to supporters at the Never Back Down Iowa headquarters in West Des Moines, Iowa, on January 13, 2024. File Photo by Tannen Maury/UPI
Florida Governor and Republican presidential candidate Ron DeSantis, seeking votes in the Iowa Caucus, waves as he arrives to speak to supporters at the Never Back Down Iowa headquarters in West Des Moines, Iowa, on January 13, 2024. File Photo by Tannen Maury/UPI

DeSantis admitted he has had disagreements with the former president in the past, including his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic and elevation of Anthony Fauci in the United States' initial response to the virus.

"Trump is superior to the current incumbent, Joe Biden. That is clear," DeSantis said. "... He has my endorsement because we can't go back to the old Republican Guard of Yesteryear, a packaged reform of warmed-over corporatism that Nikki Haley represents. The day of putting Americans last, of kowtowing to large corporations of caving to woke ideology are over."

Volunteers work in the Never Back Down Iowa headquarters before Florida Governor and Republican presidential candidate Ron DeSantis arrives to speak to supporters in West Des Moines, Iowa, on January 13, 2024. File Photo by Tannen Maury/UPI
Volunteers work in the Never Back Down Iowa headquarters before Florida Governor and Republican presidential candidate Ron DeSantis arrives to speak to supporters in West Des Moines, Iowa, on January 13, 2024. File Photo by Tannen Maury/UPI

The Florida governor's decision to exit the race and to endorse Trump is widely seen as a way to unify New Hampshire Primary voters behind the former president, who aims to end the primary campaign of former United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley.

"We wish him well," Haley said to New Hampshire voters of DeSantis. "Having said that, it's now one fella and one lady left."

Florida Governor and Republican presidential candidate Ron DeSantis greets supporters after speaking at the Never Back Down Iowa headquarters. File Photo by Tannen Maury/UPI
Florida Governor and Republican presidential candidate Ron DeSantis greets supporters after speaking at the Never Back Down Iowa headquarters. File Photo by Tannen Maury/UPI

Just before DeSantis announced he had dropped out of the race, Haley shared criticism of her former boss on social media.

"REMINDER: Trump praised Xi Jinping a dozen times after China gave us COVID," Haley said.

"He wrote 'love letters' to Kim Jong Un even after the North Korean regime brutally murdered Otto Warmbier. He talked about Putin like they had a budding bromance. We cannot have a president who is obsessed with dictators."

A series of Republicans have dropped out of the race since Trump's dominating Iowa Caucus victory on January 15, including Vivek Ramaswamy and Asa Hutchinson.