Former President Donald Trump is comfortably leading the field when it comes to the 2024 GOP primaries.
In virtually every poll, Trump holds a large-to-enormous lead over his next closest competitor, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.
Despite that comfortable lead, however, a new Axios report is suggesting that the former president is growing impatient with the lack of full-throated support from longtime ally and friend, Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders.
Sanders, who was Trump’s press secretary from 2017 to 2019, has been rather tight-lipped about whom she supports in the 2024 GOP primary field, and that has been a growing point of division between the two conservative fixtures.
Specifically, Axios is reporting that Sanders has failed to adhere to a timeline she provided the Trump campaign team — and that’s been the most recent flashpoint.
Sanders’ team had allegedly promised the Trump campaign some sort of an endorsement after she had completed her first round of legislative sessions in Arkansas.
Those sessions wrapped up in May. It is now the back half of July.
If Sanders did promise such a timeline, it’s understandable why the former president would be annoyed with the lack of a promised endorsement.
Now, it’s also worth noting that this isn’t the first time this sort of story has made the rounds.
In March, the New York Times reported that Trump called Huckabee Sanders for an endorsement — and failed to get one.
The former president ripped into that March report as “Fake News” on Truth Social, noting “I give endorsements, I don’t generally ask for them:”
Interestingly, as part of that March denial, Trump seemed to imply that Huckabee Sanders “owed” him an endorsement — a thought that was repeated in the Axios report.
“With that being said, nobody has done more for her than I have, with the possible exception of her great father, Mike [Huckabee]!” Trump posted to Truth in March.
Compare that March sentiment with this current one from a Trump ally, explaining to Axios how the former president felt about Huckabee Sanders: “You should always dance with the person who brought you.”
If this Axios report is to be believed, Trump’s growing frustration with the Arkansas governor eerily mirrors his full-blown frustrations with the Florida governor.
A common critique from Trump supporters regarding DeSantis is that the Florida firebrand is an ingrate for challenging the former president. The general feeling is that DeSantis should “wait his turn” due to the support given by the then-president during the Florida governor’s political nascence.
It’s been a highly divisive issue, especially within Republican and conservative circles, and Sanders doesn’t appear to just be mirroring it — she may very well be a part of it.
Axios notes that Sanders attended a DeSantis retreat last year, and “has become close to DeSantis’ wife, Casey, since their experiences with cancer in recent years.”
While it may not have been an actual endorsement, Sanders did make it clear that she “loves” Trump and acknowledged his status as “the dominant frontrunner” through her communications director, Alexa Henning.