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Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis announcing his departure from the 2024 GOP presidential primaryX / Screenshot

(LifeSiteNews) — Florida Governor Ron DeSantis dropped out of running for the GOP presidential nomination and endorsed Donald Trump following the Iowa caucus, which he said made clear that Republican voters want to re-elect the former U.S. president.

“Following our second place finish in Iowa, we’ve prayed and deliberated on the path forward. If there was anything I could do to produce a favorable outcome – more campaign stops, more interviews – I would do it,” said DeSantis in a video posted to X on Sunday. 

“I can’t ask our supporters to volunteer their time and donate their resources if we don’t have a clear path to victory,” he explained. 

“Accordingly, I am today suspending my campaign,” announced DeSantis.

Trump took 51 percent of the vote in the Iowa caucus, while DeSantis won 21 percent, Nikki Haley won 19 percent, and entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy won 7.7 percent of the vote.

READ: DeSantis thanks March for Life for defending a ‘noble cause’ despite ‘naysayers’ in the GOP

“It’s clear to me that a majority of Republican primary voters want to give Donald Trump another chance,” he continued, adding that they have watched the obstruction of his presidency “by relentless resistance,” and have seen Democrats use “lawfare to this day to attack him.”

While DeSantis acknowledged that he has disagreed with Trump, such as on how to approach “the coronavirus pandemic,” and about “his elevation of Anthony Fauci,” he believes it is “clear” that Trump “is superior to” incumbent Joe Biden.

He went on to take a jab at Trump’s now sole contender for the GOP presidential primary, Nikki Haley, explaining, “[Trump] has my endorsement because we can’t go back to the old Republican guard of yesteryear: A repackaged form of warmed-over corporatism that Nicki Haley represents.”

DeSantis’ explanation for his dropout echoes that of Ramaswamy, who likewise pulled from the Republican presidential primary after the Iowa caucus, explaining, “There is no path for me to be the next president, absent things that we don’t want to see in this country.”

Trump weighed in on DeSantis’ move to leave the presidential race on Sunday, telling Fox News, “I was honored that he endorsed me this quickly. It’s not easy. He fought hard.”

The former U.S. president said he believes his own policies are “very similar” to those DeSantis promotes, such as on the U.S. border and tax cuts.

While the policies they endorse indeed overlap, DeSantis has taken a significantly stronger pro-life and pro-freedom stance. While DeSantis signed a heartbeat bill in Florida, and has committed to signing a national 15-week abortion ban as president, Trump has been severely critical of heartbeat laws during his current campaign, calling DeSantis’ six-week abortion ban a “terrible mistake.” 

READ: Will Trump ask Nikki Haley to be his running mate? Not if America First conservatives get their way

DeSantis has also had markedly stronger opposition to COVID lockdowns and tyranny. He re-opened schools during COVID hysteria, effectively banned private businesses from forcing experimental mRNA injections on employees, and banned the vaccine passports that were a fixture of life in most left-wing urban areas in the U.S. in mid- to late 2021 and even 2022.

By contrast, Trump oversaw the national lockdown of 2020 and Operation Warp Speed, and he continues to take credit for the unsafe and ineffective COVID-19 injections which so many of his base were mandated or pressured to take by employers, schools, and private businesses. He also awarded Dr. Anthony Fauci a presidential commendation shortly before leaving office.

DeSantis will focus his energy on serving as Florida governor. His accomplishments in this capacity have been widely praised by conservatives for promoting pro-family, pro-freedom, pro-American policies, such as curbing explicit and inappropriate content in classrooms and school libraries and banning central bank digital currencies (CBDCs) in Florida.

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