Former President Donald Trump, traveling to Salem, New Hampshire, and Columbia, South Carolina, gaggled with reporters on a busy day as he kicked off his 2024 campaign in earnest Saturday, most notably calling Florida GOP Gov. Ron DeSantis "very disloyal" for not declining a 2024 presidential run.
Trump spoke on a number of hot-button topics, including former Vice President Mike Pence's discovery of classified documents, Tyre Nichols police bodycam footage, former South Carolina GOP Gov. Nikki Haley's 2024 intentions, DeSantis' potential primary challenge, and the saga of the maligned new Rep. George Santos, R-N.Y.
Trump repeated his onetime close ally DeSantis "would have not been governor" of Florida if it were not for his endorsement in 2018.
"So, then, when I hear he might run, you know, I consider that very disloyal,"Trump told reporters, according to the pool report. "But it's not about loyalty, but to me it is. It's always about loyalty."
While Trump told the press pool he believes Pence "made a mistake" in not supporting the challenge of the 2020 presidential election results, the former boss generally supported his former VP.
"I don't think he ever did anything knowingly wrong or corrupt," Trump said. "They should leave him alone."
Trump also expressed horror and sympathy for the late Nichols, calling it "horrible" and a "sad thing" when Nichols "started screaming for, you know, mom," when he was being beaten by Memphis, Tennessee, police.
"The video was pretty graphic," Trump continued, when asked if the officers involved should be charged. "Unless there's something that isn't shown, it would certainly be a terrible thing that they did."
As for his potential 2024 GOP primary challengers, Trump weighed in on both his former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Haley and DeSantis, whom he has always endorsed but has also called "Ron DeSanctimonious" and admonished for not declining to run for president next year.
Hayley called him "the other day" to say "she'd like to consider" a run for president in 2024, according to the ABC News-led pool report.
"I said, 'Look, you know, go by your heart if you want to run,'" Trump said. "She's publicly said that 'I would never run against my president. He was a great president.'"
As for Santos, maligned for embellishing his resumé before his election in the midterms, Trump called it a "terrible situation" because "he's told some whoppers."
Traveling with Trump on his busy day of campaigning were prominent aides Jason Miller, former Save America PAC spokeswoman Liz Harrington, and his presidential social media chief Dan Scavino.
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