Ron DeSantis, Mike Pence, Liz Cheney… Who are Donald Trump’s potential adversaries?

From our correspondent in the United States,

The fratricidal war has begun. By announcing his candidacy for the next presidential election two years in advance on Tuesday evening, Donald Trump hopes to clear the road, but also to complicate the lives of the prosecutors who are investigating the 2020 election and the violence on Capitol Hill. But if his hold on the Republican Party seemed almost absolute, the midterms, which nevertheless made it possible to tip the House of Representatives to the red side, reshuffled the cards. Obsessed with his 2020 defeat and an imaginary fraud, Donald Trump saw the candidates he backed being overwhelmingly rejected by voters in the swing states. Something to whet the appetite – and the knives – of a dozen challengers who want to turn the Trump page.

Ron DeSantis, the faithful who has the wind in his sails

Ron DeSantis would probably be nothing without Donald Trump. In 2018, the support of the American president had allowed him to become governor of Florida. Re-elected in an armchair last week, in particular by seducing the Latino electorate, he is able to mobilize the MAGA base (now MAGAGA) without antagonizing the independents in the suburbs. At 44, he is the age of Donald Trump’s eldest son, and Rupert Murdoch has already designated him as “DeFuture” of the Republican Party.

Passed by Yale then Harvard, this former Navy lawyer has repartee and will not let himself be walked over in the debates, like Jeb Bush or Marco Rubio. According to a YouGov poll conducted after the midterms, he even comes first in preference, with the support of 41% of Republicans, against 39% for Donald Trump. But beware of the latter, who warned that he “knew more than anyone” about DeSantis, “perhaps with the exception of his wife”.

Mike Pence, the former VP with scores to settle

For four years, he played the good soldiers. But at the most important moment, Mike Pence stood up to Donald Trump, refusing to block certification of the 2020 presidential results to Congress. Thrown to the Capitol rioters by a tweet signed Trump criticizing his lack of “courage”, the former VP began to settle accounts in his memoirs, which appear on Monday. Donald Trump “put me and my family in danger”, he attacks. If he will undoubtedly find it difficult to embody the next generation, he knows Trump better than anyone. Its strengths, but above all its weaknesses.

Liz Cheney, the nemesis with nothing to lose

Liz Cheney has no chance of winning the Republican primary. Beaten by a candidate supported by Donald Trump in Wyoming this summer, the daughter of Dick Cheney has only one mission: to block the way to the one she describes as a “threat to democracy”. She said she was “thinking” about running, and she should have a few scuds in reserve after 18 months co-chairing the House Committee on Capitol Hill.

Mike Pompeo, the hawk that follows the direction of the wind

In 2016, while supporting Marco Rubio in the primary, Pompeo warned that Donald Trump would be an “authoritarian president who does not respect the Constitution”. A few months later, this Republican hawk turns around and becomes the boss of the CIA, then the Secretary of State of the Trump administration. After the storming of the Capitol, he participates in discussions to invoke the 25th Amendment to declare the American president “unfit”, but they go nowhere. Tuesday evening, he sent a spade to Donald Trump without naming him on Twitter: “We need leaders who look ahead and not in the rear view mirror by posing as a victim. »

Nikki Haley, the tightrope walker who dreams of becoming president

Faced with Donald Trump, Nikki Haley has always played the tightrope walker. In 2016, the former governor of South Carolina supports Marco Rubio then Ted Cruz. This does not prevent her from becoming the United States’ ambassador to the UN – and the first person of Indian origin member of a presidential cabinet – for two years. She sometimes criticized her boss while trying not to alienate her supporters. She denounces his “dangerous words” after Charlottesville and declares that he will be “harshly judged by history” after the assault on the Capitol, but speaks in the same interview of his “friend” Donald Trump. She had assured that she would not be a candidate if he launched, but his calculations have undoubtedly changed.

Tim Scott, the African-American senator who places himself

If Tim Scott wanted to get started, he wouldn’t do it any other way. Re-elected senator from South Carolina with a margin of 27 points, the one who often highlights his family history, “cotton in Congress”, published a book this summer. His title : America, a Story of Redemption: Choosing Hope, Creating Unity. Yes, he can. Scott, one of the few elected African-American Republicans, enjoys a good popularity rating in his state but does not have the visibility of his competitors at the national level. Like Haley, he probably has more of a running mate profile.

The rest: Regulars and governors in ambush

In a primary that promises to be more open than expected, we could find three candidates beaten by Trump in 2016: the senators Marco Rubio and Ted Cruzbut also the former governor of New Jersey, chris christie, who increasingly openly criticizes the former president. Two moderate governors also took out the sulphur. larry hogan (Maryland) estimates that Donald Trump “cost three elections” to the Republicans (the House in 2018, the Congress in 2020 and the Senate in 2022). Easily re-elected in New Hampshire, Chris Sununu called the midterms a “rejection of extremism”, and Glenn Youngkin (Virginia) has recently distanced itself. Kristi Noem (South Dakota), she remains a faithful of the former president but we have seen her crisscross the United States in recent months. The marathon is on.

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