March 1, 2024

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (left) uttered a fake quote by former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill (right) in announcing the suspension of his 2024 presidential campaign (Pictures: Reuters/Getty Images)

The Republican candidate who was considered ex-President Donald Trump’s biggest rival dropped out of the 2024 race with a Winston Churchill quote – that turns out to be fake.

Ron DeSantis announced he was suspending his presidential campaign in an X (formerly Twitter) post on Sunday in which he quoted the most famous British prime minister of the 20th century.

‘Winston Churchill once remarked that, “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts,”‘ said DeSantis near the end of a more than four-and-a-half minute long video message.

‘While this campaign has ended, the mission continues. Down here in Florida, we will continue to show the country how to lead. Thank you and God bless.’

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Florida Governor DeSantis on the post also wrote out the quote and attributed it to Churchill.

But the prime minister never said those words, according to the International Churchill Society.

‘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,’ said the society in response to a 2013 article in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution using the same quote.

‘Churchill did say: “No one can guarantee success in war, but only deserve it,”’ continued the society, and added that he also said, ‘”Success always demands a greater effort.”’

Republican presidential candidate Ron DeSantis ended his presidential campaign on Sunday (Picture: X (formerly Twitter)/@RonDeSantis)
The International Churchill Society said former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill did not say, ‘Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.’ (Picture: PA)

Inspirational quotes by famed figures that they never actually uttered are widespread and continue to live online even after being debunked, according to the Poynter Institute.

Some X users pointed out the fake Churchill quote.

‘Wrong DeSantis ends his pathetic presidential campaign, endorses Trump, and attributes a quote to Winston Churchill, who never said those words,’ wrote one user. ‘So on point.’

Trump was not among those who called out the Churchill quote. He thanked DeSantis for endorsing him and said it is ‘highly unlikely’ that he would be given a role to serve in a potential second Trump administration.

Republican presidential candidate and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis finish second in the Iowa caucuses last Monday (Picture: Reuters)
Former President Donald Trump thanked Florida Governor Ron DeSantis for endorsing him after dropping out of the race (Picture: AP)

The former president also said he had ‘officially retired’ his nickname for him, ‘Ron DeSanctimonious’.

DeSantis pulled out from the 2024 race six days after Trump enjoyed a record-breaking victory in the Iowa caucus, which is the first presidential nominating contest and a crucial test for Republican presidential hopefuls. DeSantis came in second in Iowa with 21.2% of the vote, followed by former US ambassador for the United Nations Nikki Haley who got 19.1%.

Despite his second place finish, DeSantis in his withdrawal said, ‘I can’t ask our supporters to volunteer their time and donate their resources if we don’t have a clear path to victory’. DeSantis ran his campaign on delivering his promises in Florida, where his conservative agenda victories include signing a law barring public schools from teaching LGBTQ issues and taking away Disney’s self-governing district status.

Trump is eyeing victory in the New Hampshire Republican presidential primary on Tuesday with the race for the GOP nomination down to him and Haley, who previously served in his administration.

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