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A former senior Trump administration official who launched the pro-DeSantis PAC reveals its mission

Exclusive – Ken Cuccinelli, former Trump administration official, says the “mission” of the recently formed Major Military Operations Committee he chairs is to help Republicans governor. Ron DeSantis from Florida He got “off to a much faster start” if he announced his candidacy for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination.

Cuccinelli, a former Virginia attorney general and 2013 Republican gubernatorial nominee who later served as acting deputy director of homeland security for the last two years of his presidency. Administration of former President Donald TrumpLast week, she released the “Never Back Down PAC.”

Although Cuccinelli has been a vocal advocate for some of Trump’s hawkish and controversial immigration policies during his tenure in the nation’s capital, he spent Wednesday and Thursday speaking about DeSantis to voters in Iowa, the state that begins the Republican presidential nomination calendar, and Friday and Saturday. It was in New Hampshire that the second competition was taking place. Cuccinelli was meeting with influential Republicans in each of the early voting states.

“The job is to touch as many individuals as possible, especially influential people, so that I can read these two states and bring more details of Governor DeSantis to these communities,” Cuccinelli said Friday in a nationally exclusive interview with Fox. News.

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“As you might expect, Republicans across the country have their own idea of ​​who DeSantis’ governor is. But no one knows everything. I don’t know everything. But I can give them more details and a lot more information about the positions, in his life story, about How he performed so successfully as Governor of Florida, where I think he was the best CEO we’ve had at the governor or presidential level in decades,” Cuccinelli emphasized. “And that’s really his calling card. People are very impressed with how well he’s doing. And so we’re trying to give people an organizational focus early in the race.”

Cuccinelli said He’s “trying to provide an organizational center with a super PAC so people can start preparing if it is [DeSantis] He decided to enter, which seems likely… that we had already prepared the ground for him and that he would sprint to a much faster start than he could have got off. “

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DeSantis has seen his popularity rise among conservatives across the country over the past three years due to his staunch pushback against coronavirus pandemic restrictions and his aggressive actions as a culture warrior going after the media, businesses and teachers unions. The governor scored a 19-point landslide victory in November’s gubernatorial re-election, and in his recent speeches, he’s been highlighting that his political victories in Florida could serve as a roadmap for the entire nation.

Florida. Ron DeSantis speaks at a campaign event on Friday, March 10, 2023, in Davenport, Iowa. (AP Photo/Ron Johnson) ((AP Photo/Ron Johnson))

Sources in DeSantis’ broader political orbit have told any presidential campaign would begin in late spring or early summer, after the end of the current legislative cycle. However, the governor’s latest itinerary to early-voted states Iowa and Nevada and next month’s trip to New Hampshire — first reported by Fox News — fuels further speculation about a growing possibility. Run the White House.

The governor also travels around the country highlighting his “Florida Blueprint” and promoting his newly released memoir, “The Courage to Be Free.” And while he’s currently still on the sidelines in 2024, DeSantis ranks first in nearly every poll in early 2024, behind Trump — who launched his third White House campaign in November — and far behind the rest of the actual field and potential Republican presidential candidates.

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Super PACs, known as independent spending-only commissions, are legally allowed to raise unlimited amounts of money from corporations, unions, associations, and individuals, and spend unlimited amounts to support or oppose political candidates. Unlike traditional PACs, they are prohibited by old federal rules from coordinating or contributing directly to a candidate’s or candidate’s campaign.

Two current super PACs — titled “Ready for Ron” and “Ron to the Rescue” — which are not affiliated with DeSantis or his political circle, are already working and raising money while urging the governor to launch a presidential campaign. But sources in DeSantis’ broader political orbit described those groups as “dirty — plain and simple.”

Two sources familiar with the thinking of DeSantis’ political scientist told Fox News last week that the “Never Back Down PAC” would likely have the governor’s blessing if he continued to run for the White House.

Former President Donald Trump speaks on the campaign trail Monday, March 13, 2023, in Davenport, Iowa.  (AP Photo/Ron Johnson)

Former President Donald Trump speaks on the campaign trail Monday, March 13, 2023, in Davenport, Iowa. (AP Photo/Ron Johnson) (AP)

Asked by Fox News why he did not support his former boss, Cuccinelli said, “You don’t read what I’m doing here as anti-anyone, including anti-Trump. The fact that there are two top-tier candidates doesn’t change the fact that Ron DeSantis is the top candidate in the running.” This race. It is, in my opinion, head and shoulders above all other options for America. And that is how I decide it.”

“This is not a friend thing. That is [about] What is best for America, said Cuccinelli. “Others may come to different conclusions. But I’ve thought about this for months. I’ve talked to people in over half the states, people at the grassroots level. I’m getting a lot of the same response.”

Cuccinelli said he told Trump about his plans to put together a pro-DeSantis super PAC, explaining that “we sent text messages back and forth. He texted me the night before it was announced, telling me it was probably no coincidence. He was friendly and I was forthright.” I was very much with him about what I was doing and why in simple terms.”

“I haven’t heard back since,” he added.

Trump and his allies have increasingly targeted DeSantis in recent weeks, and Cuccinelli may finally be drawn into the political crossfire.

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He remarked, “You’ll never sit back once you’ve been beaten.”

But referring to DeSantis’ efforts to mostly ignore Trump’s attacks, Cuccinelli said: “I think Governor DeSantis showed a way to deal with that was to point to the record. The scoreboard. He was a baseball player. Point to the scoreboard. COVID or whether it’s his corporate opportunity,” Cuccinelli said. And keep kids in school.He has an amazing, often at odds record of what’s been happening in Washington, including in the Trump administration.

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