June 30 (Reuters) – This week’s testimony at congressional hearings on the Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol assault portrayed an enraged Donald Trump throwing food against a White House wall, voicing support for threats against his vice president, and dismissing the news that some of his supporters had come armed with rifles.
Democrats hope the revelations will remind voters why they didn’t reelect the former president in 2020. But the biggest political beneficiary may be Trump’s fellow Republican, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, his top potential rival for the 2024 presidential nomination.
Neither Trump nor DeSantis has yet declared a 2024 run for the White House, the first nominating contests are more than 18 months away, and the nation still needs to get through the Nov. 8 midterm elections that will determine control of Congress for the next two years. Trump has proven remarkably resistant to political damage and remains his party’s most popular figure.
But still, there are signs that DeSantis’ star is rising.
Dan Eberhart, a prominent Republican donor, estimated three-quarters of roughly 150 fellow donors with whom he regularly interacts backed Trump six months ago, with a quarter going for DeSantis. Now, the balance has shifted: about two-thirds want DeSantis as the 2024 nominee.
“The donor class is ready for something new,” said Eberhart, who supports both politicians but says he’s much more excited about DeSantis. “And DeSantis feels more fresh and more calibrated than Trump. He’s easier to defend, he’s less likely to embarrass, and he’s got the momentum.”