Trump accuses evangelicals of ‘disloyalty’ after lacklustre 2024 campaign launch

Former President Donald Trump is now accusing one of his largest support bases of “disloyalty” as it becomes clearer and clearer that he could face a competitive primary in 2024 for the Republican presidential nomination.

Mr Trump made the charge Monday evening during an interview with David Brody on Real America’s Voice, a Trump-aligned right-wing news and opinion channel.

During the interview, Mr Brody asked about “some of these prominent evangelical leaders who backed you last time, they’re not yet willing to commit like Robert Jeffries”, and seemed to suggest that the GOP field was not clearing the way for the former president as many had predicted throughout 2021 and parts of 2022.

Mr Trump responded by taking a swinging at those “prominent evangelical leaders”.

“That’s a sign of disloyalty. There’s a great disloyalty in the world of politics and that’s a sign of disloyalty,” Mr Trump said.

The interview was revealing for two reasons: Number one, it showed how even Mr Trump’s closest supporters are beginning to wonder if the former president really retains the dominance over the GOP which he claims to hold. Secondly, it revealed how the former president himself is showing signs of stress over that very issue.

The ex-president announced that he was formally running for president last year at an event hosted in his Mar-a-Lago club and estate, where he has been largely holed up since leaving office.

It came as a rash of polling over the past two months has shown Florida Governor Ron DeSantis as capable of mounting a potentially competitive bid against Mr Trump for the 2024 GOP nomination, though some pollsters and analysts have cautioned that the anti-Trump GOP vote could easily be split past the point of relevance by the entrance of more alternatives to the former president.

A poll from YouGov and The Economist found the Florida governor leading Mr Trump by eight percentage points in a hypothetical head-to-head matchup in mid-December.