The Wall Street Journal editorial board called for Republican presidential candidate Gov. Ron DeSantis, Fla., to drop out of the primary following his near 30-point loss to former President Trump in the Iowa caucuses Monday night.
The board argued that DeSantis can’t beat Trump to snag the GOP nomination and should exit the race to give former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley a shot at beating Trump.
"Mr. DeSantis faces no clear path to the nomination. He’s well behind Ms. Haley in New Hampshire and South Carolina. If he believes, as he says, that Mr. Trump can’t win in November, he should leave the race and give Ms. Haley a chance to take on Mr. Trump one on one," the Journal declared.
FILE - Image of Fla. Gov. Ron DeSantis, Nikki Haley, and former President Donald Trump. (Getty Images)
Before making the case for Haley, the board gave a rundown on why DeSantis would not be able to overcome the former president even though he seemed a promising candidate when the primary race started.
It stated, "Mr. DeSantis seemed the likeliest candidate to do so after his 2022 victory and stellar governing record in fast-growing Florida. But his Iowa result is disappointing after he invested so much time and money in the state."
The editorial claimed that DeSantis’ strategy of running to "Mr. Trump’s right" on social issues like abortion didn’t yield enough of a result, noting "there isn’t much room in that lane." It added, "The Florida Governor earned some evangelical support in Iowa for Florida’s ban on abortion after six weeks, but Mr. Trump ran as the President whose Supreme Court appointees voted to overturn Roe v. Wade."
It also noted that DeSantis’ Ukraine policy did not go over well with voters, stating that him waffling on aid to the country "made him look inconstant."
The board then declared, "he should leave the race and give Ms. Haley a chance to take on Mr. Trump one on one," and detailed how she is best equipped to nudge Trump out of the nomination.
"Ms. Haley has pursued a strategy of appealing to Republicans who either don’t like Mr. Trump or are open to someone else, and that helped her finish a close third in Iowa," the editorial claimed, adding that her relative strength in the Granite State [New Hampshire] speaks to Mr. Trump’s weakness in the general election."
It also mentioned how "most polls show she defeats Mr. Biden easily while Mr. Trump is barely ahead despite the President’s historically low approval rating of 40%."
During a CNN interview the day after the Iowa caucuses, Haley mentioned her focus on taking down Trump while noting she does not feel threatened by DeSantis’ continued presence in the race, even with him traveling to her home state of South Carolina as his campaign continues.
"It really doesn't matter why he went there," she said. "I’m sure he had a great time. South Carolina is a great state, but he’s in single digits in South Carolina and single digits in New Hampshire. He’s been invisible in both states."
She continued, "He is not my concern. I’m going after Trump. That’s what I’m saying, and I'm doing that not for personal reasons, but the fact that I don’t want my kids to live like this. At some point something’s got to give. People are tired of the division and the chaos."
The board’s piece ended with the lament that "both political parties are on a path to nominate candidates most voters say they don’t want. Mr. Biden may be the only nominee Mr. Trump can beat, and vice versa. Republicans have a chance to think twice about their choice, and the Iowa result means there isn’t much time to do it."