JOHN YANG: Well, weúre going to be hearing a lot more from Donald Trump in the days to come.
The field vying to challenge him in the Republican presidential nomination race is growing.
Today, South Carolina Senator Tim Scott filed the necessary paperwork with the Federal Election Commission, and he says heúll make what he calls a major announcement Monday in Charleston.
And on Wednesday, Florida governor Ron DeSantis is suspected to say that heús running.
In recent days, DeSantis and the current frontrunner, former President Donald Trump, have been exchanging increasingly pointed barbs.
Trump mocked the governor after two DeSantis-backed candidates ended up losing in Tuesdayús elections.
And on the other hand, The New York Times reported that DeSantis has privately told supporters that Trump canút win in 2024.
Carl, whatús this race going to look like?
Are they going -- these are two politicians whose careers have really been intertwined.
Theyúre sort of playing in the same lane, going after the same voters.
CARL HULSE: And Trump would say he made Ron DeSantis his endorsement in the Florida governorús race.
Itús just going to be a very messy battle.
I think DeSantis might be happy that other people are jumping into this race, and it sort of might dilute a little bit of the Trump effect on him.
I do think thatús interesting that other people have seen whatús happened, have seen how itús gone with DeSantis, and still say, you know what, Iúm willing to jump in there and take on the former president.
I do think itús just going to be a free for all, though.
And Donald Trump is really great at character assassination, and heús going to apply those skills to Ron DeSantis.
JOHN YANG: Could what DeSantis is doing, could it work, going after the same voters, sort of trying to be trying to be Trumpism without Trump?
CARL HULSE: Yes, I think thatús his message, right, Trump canút win.
I do think thereús a lot of Republicans in the Senate who also believe that and are worried about Trump.
I do think, though, that youúre going to see Trump use this feud that DeSantis has had with Disney against him and say, this guy is not good for business and try to scare away donors.
FIN GOMEZ: Sorry.
DeSantis hasnút even launched his campaign yet.
As you said, itús expected next week.
And heús lost momentum, though.
Heús lost momentum over the last several weeks, over the last several months, in part because he has not engaged with Donald Trump.
And some of his supporters have said, like jump in already, like counter, right?
So, I think that once that happens, I think after next week, Iúve been told by some folks in DeSantis world that that will increase, that he will get more vocal towards the former president, but it will turn this cycle, I believe, into a vicious one.
It will be a brutal, brass knuckle cycle, and worse perhaps than weúve seen since 2016.
John Yang: How will -- you say DeSantis is going to get more active.
But what contrast will he try to draw with President Trump?
FIN GOMEZ: Well, frankly, he has been leaning into this card of being the best person to embody the Trump-era policies for the Republican base without having the Trump baggage.
I think youúre going to see more of that.
Heús been tweaking him, as weúve seen.
Heús been increasing it, increasing his criticisms.
But at the same time, because of that lack of momentum, as Carl touched upon, we have been seeing more potential contenders, say, even this past week, from the mayor of Miami to the North Dakota governor, to others saying they are considering seriously considering runs and jumping into the presidential freight.
And a lot of that is because DeSantis has lost momentum over the last few weeks.
JOHN YANG: So, thatús their hope there.
Thatús what fuels these sort of long shot candidacies, thatús how they think they could win?
FIN GOMEZ: Yes, that and in part because theyúre still, despite of his positioning of Trumpús positioning as this frontrunner.
And I think most national polls, thereús an average national polls, that show that heús up by 30 points over DeSantis right now.
But because there are still these looming investigations with Jack Smith and the others, Fulton County, that perhaps that this trajectory is not sustainable.
And so the more they enter into the race, they feel they could they could change, it could evolve and they could get a chance.
And, frankly, I think a lot of them are relying on that.
Weúll see what happens.
JOHN YANG: Turning to the Democratic side, Kayla, Vice President Kamala Harrisú profile seems to be rising in recent days.
Is there some strategy behind that?
KAYLA TAUSCHE: Well, in short, yes, John, because her profile had receded to behind the scenes.
Her aides had complained that the issues with which she was tasked were low-profile issues and she was set up to fail essentially because they were issues that were not designed to succeed.
Now, in recent weeks, sheús taken the helm of the administrationús messaging on abortion rights.
And in recent weeks, sheús also taken the lead on some debt ceiling strategy as well.
She was in the meeting with congressional negotiators this week after not being in the meeting last week.
She held a briefing for reporters yesterday talking about the consequences of default.
And then even today, while she was visiting a philanthropic facility in California, she made comments that made news about the debt ceiling suggesting that giving some of the reasons behind the pause.
And so the White House has seemed to make a concerted effort to put her out there.
And itús because the attacks from the other side are expected to discuss President Bidenús age and the fact that Kamala Harris, the vice president, is just a heartbeat away from the presidency.
And so her record is expected to come under attack just alongside the presidents.
And they want that to be unassailable and they want her to be shown being in the lead, hand in glove with President Biden on a lot of these issues.
JOHN YANG: The Republicans could be saying she could be president sooner rather than later, given the presidentús age?
KAYLA TAUSCHE: Yes.
I mean, thatús what theyúre anticipating the message to be because of the attacks on President Bidenús age.
And so theyúre gearing up for that.
And even just her appearances in President Bidenús ads and some of his high-profile events so far, itús very clear that theyúre raising her profile to show that she would be an able leader if anything were to happen to President Biden to try to nip those attacks in the bud even before they start.
JOHN YANG: Seung Min, the campaign also released a strategy memo, and, interestingly, listed the states where they thought they can be competitive in 2024.
Anything in that memo surprise you?
SEUNG MIN KIM: It was really interesting how they specifically singled out North Carolina and Florida as two states where they will try to be active and play in as compared to the states, the swing states that they laid out that were so successful then back in 2020.
Because if you look at the states, a lot of them are very familiar to us, such as Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Georgia and Arizona clearly were pivotal states for the President in 2020 and also, frankly, in 2022 as well, in the midterms.
But North Carolina and Florida caught my eye.
Florida, for us, when I started covering politics, Florida was a solid swing state.
Now, it is clearly a red state considering, especially looking at Governor DeSantisú resounding re-election victory last November.
But it is someplace where they see at least itús worth investing money.
And in North Carolina is really interesting as well.
It is a state where the demographics could be pretty ripe for Democrats to take that state again after losing it to Republicans the last couple of presidential cycles.
And I do think thatús another state where abortion, which has been such a key issue in the midterms, we just saw the Republican-led legislature override Governor Cooperús veto of, I believe, a 12-week abortion ban.
And that issue is going to be really salient, really relevant for so many states, including so many swing states to come.
JOHN YANG: Seung Min, youúve got the last word because we have to leave it there.
Thank you all for sharing your reporting with us and thanks to all of you for watching.