Florida congressional Republicans appear to be staying out of the obvious rift between former President Donald Trump and Gov. Ron DeSantis as hypothesis continues to rise on the prospect of DeSantis launching a 2024 presidential bid.
Florida Republicans made congressional features within the midterm election, leaping from 16 GOP members of the U.S. Home from Florida to twenty post-election. That, coupled with the Republican Sens. Rick Scott and Marco Rubio, means Republicans have 22 GOP congressional members representing Florida in Congress. However, the present battle between Trump and DeSantis places them in a novel and maybe uncomfortable place, as some anticipate them to choose a facet and reveal their loyalties.
“Rep. Aaron Bean called deciding between Trump and DeSantis a “Sophie’s Choice” … (It’s price declaring right here that in a Republican Celebration of Florida debate final yr, Bean was requested the identical query and sided with DeSantis.)”
https://t.co/v24S8WP1eU by way of @politico
— Sally Goldenberg (@SallyGold) March 17, 2023
Nonetheless, that isn’t occurring — not less than, not en masse. Whereas Reps. Matt Gaetz and Anna Paulina Luna have overtly supported Trump, Politico Playbook experiences that many of the Republicans within the Florida GOP delegation usually are not taking sides because the tensions between the previous president and governor mount.
Rep. Neal Dunn (R-FL), for instance, instructed Politico that he has determined who he would endorse however is selecting to maintain it to himself in the intervening time.
“Oh, wow. You really are trying to get me into a situation here,” he mentioned, including, “I don’t need to make myself a target for a year.”
Sen. Rick Scott additionally supplied a non-answer, noting that he doesn’t wish to endorse within the primaries. Nonetheless, he did trace at what Politico described as an “icy” relationship with the governor.
“DeSantis doesn’t talk to me, so I don’t know about DeSantis. I talk to Trump. I wish him all the best of luck,” Scott mentioned.
In the meantime, Rep. Aaron Bean can also be refusing to overtly select a facet, regardless of what he has mentioned prior to now:
Rep. Aaron Bean referred to as deciding between Trump and DeSantis a “Sophie’s Choice” — a reference to the movie and novel the place the Nazis drive a girl to pick out which one in all her youngsters will die. (It’s price declaring right here that in a Republican Celebration of Florida debate final yr, Bean was requested the identical query and sided with DeSantis.)
Nonetheless, even the Florida Republicans who’ve revealed their preferences have made it clear that they love each Trump and DeSantis.
“I love DeSantis,” Rep. Luna mentioned. “I don’t think anyone will ever be able to compete with him as governor and I’ll be sad to see if he leaves early. I hope he doesn’t, but I love them both.”
Throughout an interview from CPAC, Rep. Gaetz additionally made it clear that he loves each potential candidates however argued that Trump has the “magic for this moment.”
“I support President Trump,” he mentioned. “I have worked very closely with Ron DeSantis. I worked very hard to get him elected governor, and I want all eight years of Ron DeSantis as the governor of the state of Florida.”
“If we do it right, we’ll get the best of both,” he continued. “We’ll get four years of Donald Trump’s presidency in his second term. Then we may have Ron DeSantis’ presidency thereafter. But I think Trump has got the magic for this moment, and this seems to be a crowd that’s ready for the MAGA movement.”
All eyes then activate the Republican Celebration of Florida, however the group additionally won’t make a alternative — not less than, not below the management of chair Christian Ziegler.
Whereas he has praised each males — deeming Trump “one of the greatest presidents we’ve ever had, if not the greatest” and DeSantis as presumably one of many best governors within the historical past of the nation — he mentioned the Florida GOP will keep impartial all through the first battle because the grassroots determine who must be the nominee in 2024.
“We’re going to support both men,” Ziegler mentioned throughout a March look on Breitbart Information Saturday.
“We’re going to stay neutral. And we’re going to allow the grassroots to pick and then whoever they pick, we’re gonna make sure they get elected, whether it’s President Trump [or] Governor DeSantis. We’re going to let the grassroots pick,” he mentioned, including that the Florida GOP will “work like hell to get them elected afterwards” when the first is accomplished.
As Breitbart Information reported:
He added additional perspective, recalling the crowded GOP area in 2016, which included the likes of Jeb Bush and Sen. Marco Rubio within the combine. That yr, the grassroots in Florida overwhelmingly got here out for Trump. Nonetheless, if the Florida GOP had gone all-in for a kind of different candidates in the course of the major, it could have resulted in a significant disconnect with voters, who selected Trump.
“And if the party were to get involved back in 2016, I promise you it probably would have been for one of them [Bush or Rubio]. And we saw the grassroots — 66 out of 67 counties in Florida — went with Trump. So there would have been a big disconnect. That’s why I’m a fan of the party staying neutral,” he mentioned, explaining that the occasion will probably be prepared the “moment” after the first to go to battle for the nominee.
Andy Vermaut shares:DeSantis laughs off query about his 2024 presidential plans: ‘Would not you wish to know’: Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis provided a blunt response Tuesday when… https://t.co/QnsL1YrHAd Thanks. #ThankYouJournalistsForTheNewsWeGetFromYou #AndyVermautThanksYou pic.twitter.com/jrNPvY2kPT
— Andy Vermaut (@AndyVermaut) February 14, 2023
Regardless of the looming hypothesis, DeSantis has but to disclose his political aspirations, frequently remaining coy and dismissing inquiries on his relationship with the previous president. When requested about his presidential plans in February, he coyly instructed a reporter, “Wouldn’t you like to know.”
Nonetheless, his pro-police tour and up to date nationwide e book tour have added to the hypothesis that he’s critically mulling a 2024 White Home bid, maybe serving as a catalyst for the pro-Trump tremendous PAC Make America Nice Once more Inc. submitting an ethics criticism in opposition to DeSantis, accusing him of working a “shadow presidential campaign. DeSantis’s administration has dismissed the complaint as nothing more than a “politically motivated” assault.
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