Trump’s Endorsements in Florida Highlight the Challenges Ahead for DeSantis in the Presidential Primary

Former President Donald Trump’s campaign has claimed that Florida, under Governor Ron DeSantis, is “among the worst” states to raise a family, work, and retire.[0] The claim is a rebuttal to DeSantis’s assertion that Florida is thriving under his leadership. Trump and his campaign have been critical of DeSantis’s management, citing a string of talking points from left-wing sources. Several lawmakers from Florida have endorsed Trump in recent days, including Reps. Greg Steube, John Rutherford, and Brian Mast. Trump has secured the public backing of seven members of Florida’s congressional delegation, while DeSantis has just one endorsement from Rep. Laurel Lee.

DeSantis has been building a presidential campaign infrastructure behind the scenes and was in Washington, D.C., this week to rally congressional support. However, Trump’s parade of new endorsements, including those of several lawmakers from DeSantis’s own state, overshadowed the trip.[1]

The rebuff from Florida lawmakers has been particularly striking.[2] Rep. Steube, who endorsed Trump this week, told Politico that DeSantis had not contacted him once over the last five years, nor had he replied to Steube’s attempts to connect.[2] Trump now has at least a half-dozen Florida congressional endorsements from a 20-person GOP delegation, while DeSantis has three.

Trump’s endorsements indicate just how receptive some members still are to the former president’s candidacy despite the pitfalls it could pose.[1] DeSantis faces a candidate who not only represents the establishment but also has an iron grip on a wide swath of the Republican electorate.[1] It is still early in the presidential campaign, but there’s plenty of time for DeSantis to pick up more endorsements, much like Trump himself did in 2016 after failing to garner significant support early on.[1]

During his initial tenure, DeSantis gained recognition from conservatives across the country as the epitome of an ideal governor, primarily due to his non-interventionist stance towards the Covid outbreak.[3] Following Trump’s official announcement in November to run for president again, DeSantis has been constantly targeted by the combative former president with relentless attacks.[3] Since then, DeSantis’ popularity has declined in public polling, prompting some donors originally committed to DeSantis to question whether he’s ready for the big leagues.[3]

Even before he headed to Washington, DeSantis was already in the throes of a campaign reboot, a disaster given that this is the early stage of the primary and that, he hasn’t even declared his candidacy.[4] This week was supposed to provide a grand reset—a “play the hits” tour aimed at reminding voters and GOP elites alike why they liked him in the first place.[4] DeSantis went after his great foe, Disney, reigniting a feud over the iconic Florida company’s alleged “wokeness.”[4]

Although numerous Florida lawmakers who have shown support for Trump have been his strong advocates for a while, Representative Byron Donalds is an ally of DeSantis and recently gave his endorsement to Trump. Donalds spoke at the governor’s victory celebration last November, when DeSantis was overwhelmingly re-elected to a second term in Tallahassee, and praised him as “America’s governor.”[5]

In conclusion, while it is still early in the primary process, DeSantis faces a challenging road ahead as Trump continues to secure endorsements from Florida lawmakers, indicating his enduring strength among Republicans as the primary heats up.

0. “Donald Trump says Ron DeSantis created ‘misery and despair’ in Florida” Sarasota Herald-Tribune, 21 Apr. 2023,

1. “Why Ron DeSantis keeps losing Florida endorsements to Trump”, 19 Apr. 2023,

2. “Exclusive: 2 More Florida Congressmen Plan to Endorse Trump” TIME, 19 Apr. 2023,

3. “Trump runs up the score in DeSantis’ backyard with endorsements” NBC News, 19 Apr. 2023,

4. “Ron DeSantis Is Having an Epic Disaster of a Week” The New Republic, 19 Apr. 2023,

5. “Trump solidifies early endorsement and polling lead over DeSantis, other potential 2024 contenders” Fox News, 20 Apr. 2023,

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