Steve Cortes, a top spokesperson for GOP presidential candidate Ron DeSantis’s Super PAC, admitted that defeating former President Donald Trump is an “uphill battle” and that they are “way behind” in polls.
“Right now in national polling, we are way behind, I’ll be the first to admit that,” Cortes said in a July 3 Twitter spaces event. “I believe in being blunt and really honest. It’s an uphill battle. I don’t think it is an unwinnable battle by any stretch. But clearly, Donald Trump is the runaway frontrunner, particularly since the indictments. That was not the case before the indictments. It is the case afterward.”
“And it is understandable that a lot of folks want to rally to him when he’s been unfairly, not prosecuted, really, but persecuted—particularly the Alvin Bragg indictment, which I think was just an absolute sham. So, it is understandable that there was a rally to Trump there.”
“In the first four states, which matter tremendously, polls are a lot tighter, we are still clearly down. We’re down double digits, we have work to do,” he said.
Cortes said that DeSantis is not as well known as Trump. “A lot of regular Americans” outside Florida do not know much about DeSantis, he said.
“Whereas, knowledge of Donald Trump is ubiquitous. He’s literally the most recognized and known [personality] in the world, certainly in America. So, given that, it’s not surprising that we’re right now chasing.”
Supporting Trump, Polls
Cortes believes that the GOP primary is “a two-man race” between DeSantis and Trump. “We’re clearly the underdog. We’re clearly fighting uphill.”
While saying that he respects Trump and his supporters, Cortes pointed out that if the DeSantis campaign “does not prevail” in the GOP primaries, “we will make President Trump better for having this kind of primary.”
Polls have shown Trump leading the GOP primaries by a large margin. A survey conducted in June by Echelon Insights showed that 49 percent of respondents would vote for Trump in the Republican primaries compared to just 18 percent for DeSantis.
Third-placed Vivek Ramaswamy got 10 percent support, with the remaining GOP candidates polling in the single digits.
An NBC News poll from late June showed that Trump’s lead over DeSantis widened after the former president’s indictment, which was noted by Cortes in his Twitter Spaces interview.
War of Words
Rhetoric between Trump and DeSantis has heated up in recent months. Just hours before DeSantis’s widely expected announcement he was running for president, Trump said that the Florida governor “was, and is, a disciple of horrible RINO Paul Ryan, and others too many to mention.”
“Also, he desperately needs a personality transplant and, to the best of my knowledge, they are not medically available yet. A disloyal person!”
“Ron DeSanctus can’t win the General Election (or get the nomination) because he voted to obliterate Social Security, even wanting to raise the minimum age to 70 (or more!), voted to badly wound Medicare, and fought hard and voted for a 23 percent ‘tax on everything’ sales tax.”
Meanwhile, DeSantis said in late May that Trump has “moved left” on federal spending, abortion, and crime while only giving lip service to “America First” policies. He has also said that Trump can’t win a general election.
“There are a lot of voters that just aren’t going to ever vote for him. We just have to accept that,” he said in Iowa.
DeSantis’s campaign last month faced criticism for using fake AI images that depicted Trump hugging and kissing Dr. Anthony Fauci.
In a June 30 Truth Social post, Trump said that DeSantis’s campaign “is DEAD” and that his polls “are dropping like a rock to Hell.”