Former President Donald Trump has seen a slew of high-profile Republican endorsements in the last few days — including former 2024 presidential candidate and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. But to hear some Republican Party experts tell it, DeSantis’ opinion won’t make “any difference” in Tuesday’s New Hampshire primary vote between Trump and South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley.
Speaking on “CNN News Central” Monday afternoon, Steve Duprey, the former chairman on the New Hampshire Republican Party, said Haley is “very smart” to respond to these Trump endorsements, which also includes former presidential hopeful Sen. Tim Scott, by not getting nervous and instead asking, “Who cares?”
He added that “the average voter” certainly doesn’t. That’s primarily due to what he said was elected officials’ inability to think independently and go against the political “tide.”
“You know what I found? Almost every single member of Congress is a herd animal. They seem to give up their independent thinking mind — they’re part of that political elite [Haley] talks about,” Duprey said. “They tend to just gravitate in just one direction when they see a tide flowing. When the tide goes in the other direction, they jump and go that way.”
As a result, Duprey explained, “I don’t think there are that many Americans anymore, unfortunately, who look to their elected congressional leaders and hold them and their political opinions in high esteem. So I don’t think [the Trump endorsements make] any difference, and I think Nikki Haley is very smart to punch him in the nose and say, ‘Who cares?’”
"Almost every single member of Congress is a herd animal…I don't think there are that many Americans anymore…who look to their elected congressional leaders & hold them & their political opinions in high esteem."
Fmr NHGOP Chair reacts to recent endorsements of Pres Trump. pic.twitter.com/Pxsxng4lzq
— CNN News Central (@NewsCentralCNN) January 22, 2024
Duprey himself has endorsed Haley going into Tuesday’s primary in New Hampshire, but still admitted that its an uphill battle for her to overcome far-and-away presumed candidate Trump looking ahead to November’s presidential election against incumbent Joe Biden.
“If she’s close or wins, I think she stays in,” he said. “If it’s a double-digit lead — look, this contest is over and the Republicans will have spoken.”
Duprey added that Trump appears to have an organized campaign in his sails unlike what voters saw in his 2016 and 2020 bids for the White House — one of the “most highly organized presidential primary campaigns I’ve seen in a couple decades,” he said.
“In 2016, when Donald Trump ran, it was a circus. He was a celebrity, he was a TV guy. He really didn’t have an organization anywhere in the nation. In 2020, he was the incumbent, really didn’t need one. The Trump team has done a fabulous job in the state just from a political point of view of organizing and being disciplined and having a good strategy and carrying out.”
Watch the full clip from “CNN News Central” in the video above.