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Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis visited Capitol Hill to meet with lawmakers from his Party, but it was former President Donald Trump who snatched the headlines and endorsements.
A day before Gov. DeSantis visited DC the former president secured the endorsements of two Florida Republican representatives in Reps. John Rutherford and Greg Steube and a third, Rep. Brian Mast, appeared on CNN and said he will be endorsing Trump.
But in what may be the final nail for Gov. DeSantis, Texas Republican Rep. Lance Gooden left his meeting with him and declared his support for the former president.
“Today, after careful consideration and a positive meeting with Governor DeSantis, I have decided to endorse President @realDonaldTrump for 2024. I look forward to fighting alongside him to reclaim our country from the leftist forces trying to destroy it,” he said on Twitter.
“I met with Governor DeSantis, and while he has done commendable work in Florida, there is no doubt in my mind that President Trump is the only leader who can save America from the leftist onslaught we are currently facing,” he said.
The former president’s team has celebrated the endorsements, CNN reported.
“We want to be able to show that even members in DeSantis’ own state, who know and work with him, don’t support him for president,” a source close to the Trump campaign said.
The two men have approached the competition for endorsements differently, a reflection of their contrasting styles. Trump has been directly involved in lobbying members to get on board with his presidential bid, as have some of his advisers and top surrogates both on and off Capitol Hill. Even Trump-supporting Republican consultants spent days working the phones on the former president’s behalf.
Trump’s team is keeping close tabs on who is – and isn’t – endorsing him, and is expected to roll out more endorsements from the Florida delegation this week.
DeSantis, meanwhile, has only started the process of making critical inroads with lawmakers on Capitol Hill, with his team reaching out to some members and the governor meeting directly with members at the reception in Washington, though more lawmakers are expected to throw their support behind him once he officially gets in the race.
Endorsements, however, aren’t necessarily an indicator of performance in the race or future success. And while Trump has racked up more so far, DeSantis hasn’t formally announced a presidential bid yet, making their track records difficult to compare.
Virginia Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin has reportedly paused plans to enter the 2024 presidential race.
The New York Times reported that Youngkin informed his advisers and donors that he’s focused on helping Republicans perform well in the state’s legislative elections in November, which is months after the party’s primary debates begin in August.
“Listen, I didn’t write a book, and I’m not in Iowa or New Hampshire or South Carolina,” Youngkin said when asked about a potential timeline for 2024. “I am wholly focused on the Commonwealth of Virginia, and I’m looking forward to these elections.’’
“Youngkin hopes to flip the state legislature to a Republican majority. That could earn him a closer look from rank-and-file Republicans nationwide, who so far have been indifferent to the presidential chatter surrounding him in the news media, and among heavyweight donors he would need to keep pace alongside more prominent candidates. He has yet to crack 1% in polls about the potential Republican field,” the New York Times reported.
“Tellingly, Youngkin’s two top political advisers, who guided his gubernatorial victory and were mapping out a 2024 strategy, both took jobs this month with a super PAC that supports the presidential candidacy of DeSantis,” the outlet added.
Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis has not officially announced he’s running for president in 2024, but many believe he will toss his hat in the ring at some point this year.
— Daily Mail Online (@MailOnline) April 16, 2023
Florida Republican Rep. Cory Mills has endorsed Trump’s 2024 presidential campaign.
“I think that what’s happening in New York is a very unifying event. We need to stop the infighting and come together and unify. And I think right now the person that we need to be unifying behind is President Trump,” Mills said, referring to Trump being indicted in Manhattan.