Former Republican Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker thinks it would be good for the GOP to have a competitive presidential primary in 2024, he told the Daily Caller News Foundation.
The comments came at the National Conservative Student Conference and reflected a common sentiment among speakers former President Donald Trump will not be the sole candidate during the 2024 GOP primary. Throughout the conference, the overall message delivered by the various leaders in the conservative movement was to look toward the future.
“I think he’s earned the right to do that. Whether he is the nominee, I think … even if he does get into the race, it’s healthy to have a good debate,” Walker said. “Because it is not his second term, or consecutive, I don’t think that precludes anyone else from consideration.”
Walker pointed to a historical example of how Ronald Reagan challenged then-President Gerald Ford during the 1976 GOP primary as precedent for the conservative movement’s leader to be challenged.
“Clearly, the de facto leader is Donald Trump,” Walker told the DCNF. “Is he the exclusive leader? No. But again, the national media loves to have this view that anyone who supported him or his policies are robotic or like a cult, and again, it’s not.”
Walker pointed to individuals such as former Vice President Mike Pence and Republican South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem as potential successors to Trump.
The conference also featured prominent Trump administration officials, including Pence. Over 400 students attended the conference, held July 25 through 30 in the heart of Washington, D.C. (RELATED: Jim Jordan Tells GOP To ‘Tee Up’ And Embrace Populism For 2024)
“I don’t know if our movement is that divided,” Pence told the conference. “I don’t know if the president and I differ on issues, but we may differ on focus.”
“Former Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos declined to endorse a candidate for 2024. “I don’t do hypotheticals,” she said, explaining that she is “working towards the fall” and the midterm elections.
Trump still remains the front-runner almost two years out from the election, with Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis following in a distant second, according to a poll conducted by Suffolk University between July 22 through July 25.
Trump did not respond to the DCNF’s request for comment.
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