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DeSantis bows out with rousing Churchill quote – that Churchill apparently never said

Florida governor invoked the British wartime leader in a tweet announcing he was suspending his White House bid

Michelle Del Rey
Monday 22 January 2024 12:51 GMT
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Ron DeSantis ends presidential campaign and endorses Donald Trump
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“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” With these words, grandly credited to British wartime prime ministerWinston Churchill, Ron DeSantis tweeted a video in which he revealed he was suspending his sinking presidential campaign.

There was one problem though: these words were apparently never said by Churchill, according to the International Churchill Society.

Mr DeSantis used the quote while announcing his campaign suspension on X, formerly Twitter, on Sunday.

However, years earlier the society honouring the memory of the two-time UK prime minister had debunked the idea that the ever-quotable politican had ever said this.

“We base this on careful research in the canon of fifty million words by and about Churchill, including all of his books, articles, speeches and papers,” the organisation said in response to a 2013 article in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution which also used the same quote.

“Churchill did say: ‘No one can guarantee success in war, but only deserve it’,” the organisation said, adding that the prime minister also said, “success always demands a greater effort.”

Mr DeSantis was trailing behind former United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley and former president Donald Trump in the single digits ahead of the New Hampshire primaries next week. Ms Haley is trailing behind Mr Trump.

Mr DeSantis used the opportunity to endorse the man who at times seems to be his arch-nemesis, and who had dubbed him “Ron DeSanctimonious” and “Meatball Ron”.

“It’s clear to me a majority of Republican primary voters want to give Donald Trump another chance,” Mr DeSantis said in a video message. “They watched his presidency get stymied by relentless resistance.”

Still, “Trump is superior to the current incumbent, Joe Biden,” he said. “That is clear.”

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