Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is coming clean about his biggest regret in the Republican presidential primary — and his struggling campaign.
The candidate pointed to the criminal indictments of former President Donald Trump in a Thursday interview.
Speaking to CBN News’ David Brody, DeSantis argued the indictments changed the atmosphere of the GOP primary for the worse.
“I would say if I could have one thing change, I wish Trump hadn’t been indicted on any of this stuff,” he began.
JUST IN: Ron DeSantis tells me his one regret about running in the GOP Primary this year:
Ron DeSantis: “I would say if I could have one thing change, I wish Trump hadn’t been indicted on any of this stuff…it distorted the primary…it also just crowded out, I think so much… pic.twitter.com/zrADFUmiDq
— David Brody (@DBrodyReports) December 21, 2023
The governor spoke against the legitimacy of the charges, pointing to Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg as a pawn of the extremist billionaire George Soros.
“I think someone like a Bragg would not have brought that case if it was anyone other than Donald Trump, and so someone like that’s distorting justice, which is bad, but I also think it distorted the primary,” DeSantis said.
“It also just crowded out, I think, so much other stuff, and it’s sucked out a lot of oxygen.”
Trump also faces two criminal cases brought by federal prosecutors and a state case in Georgia. Two of the cases stem from the aftermath of the 2020 election.
Despite his legal troubles, Trump’s domination in polling has led some to label the 2024 primary a foregone conclusion — even before any votes are cast.
The former president currently leads DeSantis, his closest competitor, by 51 points, according to a polling aggregate compiled by Real Clear Polling.
A straw poll taken at Turning Point USA’s recent AmericaFest conference gave Trump an even bigger lead, showing him ahead of DeSantis by a whopping 75 points.
Trump dominates as 83% of attendees’ first choice as the GOP nominee, followed by 8% for DeSantis, 6% for Vivek, and 1% for Nikki Haley.
Tucker Carlson was the first choice for VP at 35%, Vivek at 26%, and… pic.twitter.com/n2VSkg3Jaz
— Charlie Kirk (@charliekirk11) December 19, 2023
DeSantis was considered the most credible alternative to Trump by some Republicans at the start of his presidential campaign, a status that hasn’t translated into much tangible success with the Iowa caucuses less than a month away.
Still, DeSantis is confident he can beat at least one GOP hopeful — former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, with whom he’s running neck and neck.
“She’s not going to be able to win Iowa. I can,” he said in the Thursday interview.
DeSantis showed similar optimism about his chances in a potential general election.
“Obviously, Trump could win the primary,” he said. “I’m not convinced he can win the general. I can.”
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.