Former president Donald Trump has procured more endorsements from Florida’s congressional delegation a week after Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) specifically asked Florida GOPers not to do that.
Rep. Brian Mast announced on Tuesday afternoon that he plans on endorsing Trump in next year’s presidential race, and plans to chair the “Veterans For Trump” group. He’s joined by Reps. Greg Steube and John Rutherford, who announced their endorsements earlier this week.
“I’m happy and honored to endorse Donald J. Trump for president,” Steube said on Newsmax Tuesday morning. “He’s widely supported in my district, widely supported in Florida, and I’m honored to add my endorsement to the long list of endorsements for President Trump.” He later added in a press release that “Floridians need him back in the White House to finish the job.”
Their endorsements add to the growing list of Florida Republican members of Congress who are paying no mind to the fact that their own home state governor is planning a 2024 bid: Steube, Rutherford and Mast are now among Reps. Anna Paulina Luna, Matt Gaetz, Cory Mills and Byron Donalds as Trump’s Florida contingent…much to DeSantis’ chagrin.
As the governor pretends to just be eyeing a run this cycle, his team has reached out to at least six members of his state’s congressional delegation asking them to hold off on making endorsements in the near future.
“There is clearly some angst from the DeSantis camp that so many members of the state’s congressional delegation are throwing support behind Trump,” a GOP consultant told NBC News last week. “Gaetz going with Trump is one thing, but Byron’s endorsement of the former president undoubtedly rattled some cages.”
According to NBC, Steube was one of the lawmakers contacted, alongside Reps. Aaron Bean, Vern Buchanan, Kat Cammack, Mario Diaz-Balart, and Laurel Lee. Steube told the Herald-Tribune this week that he assumed they wanted to talk about his enforcement, but he didn’t speak with them.
The snub from Steube seems personal. The lawmaker told Politico Playbook in an interview that he hadn’t heard from DeSantis once in the five years he’s been in Congress until he was contacted by the governor’s aides to hold off on an endorsement. On the other hand, he said, Trump has reached out to him personally in the past, including while he was in the hospital in January.
“Floridians want him focused on Florida,” he told Politico of DeSantis, “which is the job they elected him to do.”
DeSantis has netted one endorsement from a Florida House Republican. Rep. Laurel Lee (R-FL), who used to be his secretary of state, announced her support for DeSantis in a statement Tuesday night.
“Our country is in crisis, and it is time Americans learn what Floridians already know: Ron DeSantis’s conservative principles, proven track record, and his commitment to our country are exactly what we need in a leader,” she said in a statement shared with Fox News. “It was my honor to serve in his administration and it is my honor today to endorse him for President of the United States.”
DeSantis did try to curry favor with a Rep. Lance Gooden in Texas along with other House Republicans during a meeting in D.C. Tuesday. Gooden left that meeting and immediately issued a statement endorsing the other Florida man.
Correction: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that DeSantis has no endorsements from Florida House Republicans. He has one.