Diverging paths for Trump primary rivals at RNC: DeSantis gets speaker slot, Haley snubbed

Updated

After a bitter primary, former President Donald Trump’s main GOP rivals Nikki Haley and Ron DeSantis have worked to make amends.

Haley recently released her delegates and encouraged them to support Trump. DeSantis endorsed Trump and has pledged to help his campaign.

Only one will be speaking at the Republican National Convention in Milwaukee next week, though.

Haley won’t be attending the convention. A spokesman for the former South Carolina governor said she wasn’t invited.

DeSantis will be in Milwaukee, and originally only was expected to be on the periphery of the convention. As of Tuesday evening, he wasn't scheduled to speak from the main convention stage, according to a source familiar with the scheduling

But after media reports about DeSantis' snub were published "the schedule changed and he's on the program," the source said.

The two-term Florida governor also is scheduled to participate in a Moms for Liberty panel discussion and a breakfast with his state delegation.

Showcasing future talent and promoting party unity typically are key elements of political conventions.

Both Haley and DeSantis are potential presidential candidates in 2028 and beyond, and there have been questions about whether Haley supporters, who tend to be more moderate, will back Trump in the general election.

That neither originally had a speaking role may be a sign that Trump feels he’s in a strong position within the GOP and doesn’t need to worry about unifying the party. It also could be a sign of lingering tensions between Trump and his primary rivals. Trump framed both DeSantis’ and Haley’s presidential campaigns as acts of betrayal.

Trump’s endorsement propelled DeSantis to the governorship in 2018, and the former president said it was disloyal to challenge him in the primary. Haley served as Trump’s ambassador to the United Nations. DeSantis challenged Trump from the right, while Haley targeted GOP voters at the other end of the spectrum. Neither collected many delegates.

DeSantis didn’t win any contests, dropping out after coming in second to Trump in Iowa, the first state to vote. Haley won primaries in Vermont and the District of Columbia. Yet Haley continued to collect a substantial share of the GOP primary vote after dropping out of the race.

Those protest votes against Trump raised questions about his strength within the party, but such concerns have faded and become more of an issue for Democrats after President Joe Biden’s poor debate performance.

Fox News Radio asked Trump on Wednesday about Haley not being invited to the convention. "I'll take a look at that," the former president replied.

“There was a lot of bad blood there, she stayed (in the race) too long," Trump said.

“I wish she didn’t stay so long," he added.

Asked if Haley's support would help him with moderates, Trump replied, “No."

"They're not going to vote for Biden," he added. "Biden is a low IQ president. They’re not going to vote for him. They’re going to vote for Trump.”

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Haley not invited to convention, while DeSantis gets speaking slot

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