Trump was one of several Republican presidential candidates who traveled to Anaheim to address the California GOP’s fall convention. State of Florida Ron DeSantis and South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott was set to address party loyalists later on Friday, while businessman Vivek Ramasamy was scheduled to follow him on Saturday.
Trump said at a Republican caucus he supported Friday that he would win California — a state he lost By a margin of more than 5 lakh votes In 2020 – it’s not a “bad election system”.
He spent much of his speech addressing California-specific issues, including water shortages, and lambasting the state’s Democratic leadership, including the governor. Gavin NewsomOne of Trump’s strongest critics.
“California was once a symbol of American success. Today, under the far-left fascists and Marxists who run your government, it is becoming a symbol of the decline of our nation,” Trump said.
The former president also said that if he is elected, he will empower the police to prevent retail theft.
“We will stop all robbery and theft immediately. Very simply: If you rob a store, you fully expect to be shot as you walk out of that store. Shot,” Trump said.
California, with its 54 electoral votes, is reliably Democratic in general elections. But the state has a significant role to play in this Republican primary: It’s a delegate race on Super Tuesday — a slate of March 5 primaries that could be decisive in the race for the GOP nomination.
Already, California’s primary scales are tilted in Trump’s favor because the state’s GOP rules that he can oust his rivals from delegates entirely.
The California Republican Party’s executive committee voted this summer to adopt a delegation plan that would be a boon to the Trump campaign. If a candidate receives more than 50% of the vote in next year’s primary, that candidate will win all of California’s delegates, the largest win of any state in a GOP presidential election.
It’s similar to the California system used in 2020, but departs from what the state did in past primaries when each congressional district provided three representatives — allowing candidates to strategically target specific regions, rather than facing the onerous cost of running. Big government.
DeSantis allies have worked for weeks behind the scenes to reverse the California Republican. The pro-DeSantis super PAC Never Back Down, which has run much of DeSantis’ political campaign from the outside, was furious about the decision by the California GOP.
“If California is a big pot, how do you attack it from a grassroots standpoint?” A Never Back Down official said. “Los Angeles has more people than Virginia. How do you beat that?”
The super PAC “hasn’t given up on California,” the official said, but unless Republicans change course, it’s unlikely to host events for DeSantis or dedicate grassroots resources — staff to door-knocking and organizing.
“States that really want candidates to come in should allow them to appear there, and in a large pool like California, that’s important,” the official said.
Trump’s trip to California is drawing to a close His sensational campaign Since launching his 2024 presidential bid.
The former president held a rally in South Carolina on Monday. Visited auto workers He is set to campaign in Michigan on Wednesday, California on Friday and Iowa on Sunday.
One stop missing from his itinerary: the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California, where seven GOP contenders participated in Wednesday night’s second primary debate.
A 538/Washington Post/Ipsos poll Released Thursday, GOP primary voters who attended the debate rated DeSantis’ on-stage performance as excellent, but overall, the showdown didn’t change their perspectives.
DeSantis, Scott and Ramaswamy appear in California as Trump’s primary rivals compete in what appears to be an increasingly futile battle. The party will emerge as a unique alternative To the former president.
DeSantis and Trump appeared hours apart in Anaheim on Friday.
But the convention represents an opportunity for the Florida governor, who has finished second in GOP primary polls in recent weeks, to court the same crowd as the former president. He opened his speech in California by knocking Trump, who earlier said he was “turning Florida red.”
“I understand that one of my residents was here before that turned Florida red. All I’m saying is that Ronald Reagan made the point: There’s no limit to what you can do when you don’t care who gets the credit,” DeSantis said.
DeSantis criticized Trump’s decision to skip the debate Wednesday night and continued to call the former president “absent” the next day.
“He had a lot to say about me on social media,” DeSantis told Fox News. “It’s one thing to do it behind a keyboard. Get on stage and do it to my face. I’m ready for that. You say I’m a great governor. Now all of a sudden you’re saying the opposite.
DeSantis also floated the idea of a one-on-one debate with Trump hosted by Fox News host Sean Hannity.
Scott, who was largely sidelined in the first Republican debate, tried to grab the spotlight Wednesday night — criticizing fellow former South Carolinians Nikki Haley and Ramaswamy.
“I think it’s very important for us to draw a distinction between where I am and where other people are on some important issues,” Scott said later on CNN. “Obviously, Republican primary voters want to know what the differences are.”
Ramasamy, who was targeted on stage by several rivals on Wednesday, laid out the next phase of his campaign in a post-debate interview with CNN’s Dana Bash, saying he hopes voters will get to know “a different side of me.”
“We’re not going to do media frenzies or anything going forward. I’ll talk to everybody, left wing, right wing media, it doesn’t matter. But I am going to focus more on how the first day will be,” he said.
This is the story And there’s the title Updated with additional information.