Republican Presidential Primary Down to Two

Happy Monday! We hate to start the week on a sour note, but we have unfortunate news for those of you who, like us, do not enjoy having large bugs land on you when you’re walking the dogs or taking out the trash: Not one, but two broods of cicadas will emerge at the same time this spring across the eastern United States. The last time these two groups of cicadas woke up simultaneously was in 1803. Lucky us. 

Quick Hits: Today’s Top Stories

  • U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) announced Sunday evening that the two Navy SEALs who went missing off the coast of Somalia earlier this month while attempting to board a boat carrying Iranian weapons bound for Yemen have been presumed dead. The U.S. military ended the 10-day search-and-rescue mission it was conducting with the help of Spain and Japan, switching now to efforts to recover the two sailors. 
  • The U.S. launched its sixth and seventh rounds of strikes against Houthi targets in Yemen on Friday and Saturday, going after the Iran-backed militia’s missiles and launchers. The series of strikes began earlier this month in response to the Houthis’ ongoing attacks on commercial vessels in the Red Sea—an important global shipping chokepoint—but maritime assaults by the group have continued regardless. Meanwhile, CENTCOM said an Iranian-backed militia in Iraq launched a missile attack Saturday on Al-Asad Air Base, which hosts U.S. troops. Though most of the ballistic missiles were intercepted by the base’s air defense systems, some did manage to break through, wounding an unspecified number of U.S. military personnel, who are being evaluated for traumatic brain injuries.
  • A suspected Israeli strike on a building used by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) in Damascus, Syria, on Saturday killed at least five IRGC commanders, Syrian and Iranian state media reported. One of the victims, Sadegh Omidzadeh, was reportedly one of the architects behind an Iranian plot last year to ramp up attacks against U.S. troops in Syria. The Israeli military has not commented on the strike. 
  • At least 25 people were killed in the shelling of a market in Russian-occupied Donetsk in eastern Ukraine on Sunday, the pro-Moscow leader of the region claimed, pointing the finger at the Ukrainian military—which in turn denied responsibility for the attack on a civilian area. Meanwhile, Ukrainian forces reportedly launched a long-range drone strike on Sunday against a Russian fuel terminal on the Baltic Sea near St. Petersburg, Russia. The attack, using domestically produced drones, ignited a blaze that caused the suspension of the plant’s operations and represents the latest effort by Ukraine to damage logistical networks fueling Russia’s war.
  • A Uvalde, Texas, district attorney has reportedly convened a grand jury to determine whether any law enforcement officials will face charges for their handling of the May 2022 school shooting at Robb Elementary School, which left 19 students and two teachers dead after officers waited 77 minutes to enter the school while the gunman was still inside. The report from the Uvalde Leader-News about the grand jury comes just one day after the Justice Department released its report condemning law enforcement’s handling of the shooting. The grand jury will likely hear evidence over the course of several months before deciding whether to issue an indictment. 
  • Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis suspended his campaign for the Republican nomination for president on Sunday, offering former President Donald Trump his endorsement ahead of Tuesday’s New Hampshire primary. “It’s clear to me that a majority of Republican primary voters want to give Donald Trump another chance,” he said in a video. “He has my endorsement because we can’t go back to the old Republican guard of yesteryear, a repackaged form of warmed-over corporatism that [former U.N. Ambassador] Nikki Haley represents.” Republican Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina on Friday also announced he would be supporting the former president after suspending his own campaign in November. Meanwhile, former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson—who dropped out of the race last week—endorsed Haley on Saturday, as did New Hampshire’s largest newspaper, the Union Leader.    

DeSantis Backs Down

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis' podium at his caucus night event on January 15, 2024, in West Des Moines, Iowa. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis' podium at his caucus night event on January 15, 2024, in West Des Moines, Iowa. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

On Sunday, just minutes before the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ 3 p.m. kickoff, Gov. Ron DeSantis released a major video announcement. While most Floridians were surely busy watching their football team’s heartbreaking playoff loss to the Detroit Lions, the Florida governor was admitting his own defeat in the 2024 GOP primary cycle.

DeSantis suspended his campaign for president yesterday after months of campaign turmoil and an ultimate failure to break through with GOP primary voters led to a disappointing second-place finish in the Iowa caucuses, 30 points behind former President Donald Trump. The Florida governor—who was, at one time, viewed by many as Trump’s heir apparent—threw his support behind the frontrunner, calling former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley a relic of a past Republican party. With the DeSantis campaign canceling a number of interviews and events in recent days, the decision was somewhat expected—but it comes just days before the New Hampshire primary, where all eyes will be on Haley as she faces Trump in what is now, finally, a two-person race.

In a video announcement posted to the website formerly known as Twitter—the very site where he fumbled the launch of his presidential campaign almost eight months ago—DeSantis delivered the news straight to camera, announcing that, without “a clear path to victory,” he was suspending his campaign. He thanked his supporters and his family, touted his record as governor, and promised to “continue to show the country how to lead” from Florida. He also offered a sober—if not obvious—observation of the Republican electorate. “It’s clear to me that a majority of Republican primary voters want to give Donald Trump another chance,” he said, ultimately endorsing the man who has mercilessly mocked him for months.

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