Former President Donald Trump ignored Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ crushing victory in the 45th president’s election night remarks — as other results spelled potential trouble for Trump’s path to the 2024 GOP presidential nomination.

Trump highlighted Florida Sen. Marco Rubio’s similarly large margin of victory instead as he spoke around 10 p.m. from his Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach — as the national “red wave” predicted by most pollsters began to come up short.

“Marco had a fantastic evening at 58 to 41. That’s really — that’s really tremendous,” Trump said, turning heads after DeSantis outperformed Rubio by almost 2% and delivered a rousing victory speech hailing his “win for the ages” and laying out a national message.

“Wouldn’t that be funny, if we were better on the general election than the nominations themselves?” Trump said — before the scale of his own candidates’ struggles emerged.

Trump said earlier in the day that he voted for DeSantis, but the previous night he warned the popular conservative governor that he could “hurt himself very badly” by launching a presidential bid.

Donald Trump.
Former President Donald Trump highlighted Florida Sen. Marco Rubio’s large margin of victory as he spoke around 10 p.m. from his Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach.

Trump has teased a Nov. 15 announcement about his 2024 election plans after flirting with the idea of announcing his third presidential campaign ahead of midterm voting to take credit for what was expected to be Republican gains.

Instead, Trump was only able to congratulate Republicans in relatively safe states on election night, including Senators-elect Katie Britt of Alabama, Ted Budd of North Carolina, JD Vance of Ohio and Eric Schmitt of Missouri.

DeSantis’ massive win amid an otherwise worse-than-expected night for Republicans fueled the rivalry between the men’s supporters.

Trump played kingmaker in GOP primaries this year and steered closely fought races toward candidates who embraced his Make America Great Again — or MAGA — movement. He endorsed losing Senate GOP candidate Mehmet Oz in Pennsylvania and struggling candidates Blake Masters in Arizona and Herschel Walker of Georgia.

“We need a Republican overhaul,” tweeted Republican operative Caleb Hull. “Trump pushed a bunch of candidates that SUCK and everyone knew it but we have no choice but to go along. We had everything on our side and missed the mark. DeSantis is the new head of the party, not a 76 year old man.”

Republicans still had a narrow path to win the Senate as of midday Wednesday as the fate of the House remained up for grabs but tilted toward a narrow GOP lead.

Ron DeSantis.
Former President Donald Trump warned that Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis could “hurt himself very badly” by launching a presidential bid.

Laxalt leads incumbent Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) with many votes outstanding, potentially offsetting Democrats’ pickup of the open GOP-held Senate seat. Walker narrowly trails incumbent Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.) and the race is expected to go to a runoff that decides control of the currently evenly divided Senate.

Maxim Lott, founder of gambling analysis site, noted that DeSantis had leapfrogged Trump as the odd-on favorite for the next Republican presidential nomination.

“Incredible shift in the odds for President in 2024!” Lott wrote. “[DeSantis] overtook Trump for the first time…. That’s because DeSantis just won a swing state with [a] crazy 20% margin. For comparison, he won his race in 2018 by just 0.4%.”

TV personality Geraldo Rivera tweeted, “-No Wave, GOP deflated, in disarray -Trump loser, humbled (if he had humility) -DeSantis Crown Prince of party that must go back to basics -much maligned kids showed up to vote -Abortion Rights ruled; crime fighters didn’t show up -Biden Best incumbent performance in decades..”

But former Trump White House aide Seb Gorka warned fellow Republcians against writing off the former president.

“Well simply put, [DeSantis is] a mini version of President Trump, who is Governor BECAUSE he modeled himself on the President,” Gorka tweeted. “President has to appeal NATIONALLY. Not just in one state. Can DeSantis fill a stadium anywhere in America with 10’s of thousands of voters? Next ..”

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