Florida Governor Ron DeSantis speaks in Pinellas Park


  • DeSantis' spokesperson declined to comment when asked about his plan to file next week
  • Former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson is Trump's loudest critic among the candidates
  • Trump launched a 40-second ad attacking his closest rival, DeSantis

The race to clinch the Republican nomination for the 2024 Elections is about to get tougher for former President Donald Trump as Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis prepares to formally announce his candidacy next week, according to a report.

DeSantis, who is Trump's closest rival for the nomination, was already on track to make a public announcement about his political plans by the end of May, sources told CNBC. His recent move to a new location gave him and his team a 15-day window to file a statement of candidacy with the Federal Election Commission (FEC).

However, when CNBC sought DeSantis' spokesperson for comment on an earlier report saying that he'd likely submit key FEC filings next week, they declined to comment.

With DeSantis' entry, a total of five candidates are formally challenging the former president, making the primary not as easy as he was expecting it to be.

For months, Trump has been treating DeSantis as his most formidable nemesis by attacking him with a flurry of criticisms over his records as governor, his political skills and his seeming lack of personality.

"The problem with Ron DeSanctimonious is that he needs a personality transplant, and those are not yet available. Almost all congressmen and women that served with him and knew him well supported me, some of them surprisingly so because of their relationship with Ron," Trump said in a 40-second ad.

"I would say that when it comes to lack of personality, Ron would be in class with Asa Hutchinson, and that's not good," he continued.

Hutchinson, the former governor of Arkansas, is also challenging Trump for the nomination and is his loudest critic among the presidential candidates.

After the real estate mogul was found liable for sexual abuse and defamation in a civil case against advice columnist E. Jean Carroll, Hutchinson called Trump's behavior "indefensible behavior."

"Over the course of my over 25 years of experience in the courtroom, I have seen firsthand how a cavalier and arrogant contempt for the rule of law can backfire," Hutchinson said, per The Hill.

"The jury verdict should be treated with seriousness and is another example of the indefensible behavior of Donald Trump," he added.

Meanwhile, former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley announced her bid for the presidency in mid-February, stressing the need for "a new generation" of U.S. leaders to take the reins in Washington.

She also called for mandatory mental competency tests for politicians aged 75 years old and above, which critics say reeks of ageism.

Entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy announced his bid for the White House in a Fox News channel appearance in late February. Having no previous political experience, many are calling his candidacy a "long shot."

Another contender, 75-year-old businessman Perry Johnson, also joined the race. He spent millions of his own money to run for Michigan governor last year but was disqualified after the state's election bureau found he forged thousands of nominating signatures.

Former president Donald Trump made a rare live appearance on CNN, the network he spent years denouncing while in the White House