FIRST ON FOX: Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ political team threw some subtle shade at former President Donald Trump on Wednesday following the rising Republican star and likely presidential candidate receiving the endorsement of 99 lawmakers in the Florida state legislature.
“Ron DeSantis’ support among Republicans in the Florida legislature is almost universal because these lawmakers have partnered with the governor to pass the most robust conservative agenda in the history of the state, putting Florida at the top of the rankings on every key metric,” a top DeSantis political operation official told Fox News Digital.
The official’s use of the phrase “almost universal” was a clear reference to Trump’s statement in April that his “support is almost universal in Florida” after he received endorsements from nearly half of Florida’s Republican congressional delegation.
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The 99 Florida legislators endorsing DeSantis, who has not yet announced a run for president, is a commanding portion of the state’s 113 Republican lawmakers, of which Trump has only been endorsed by one.
DeSantis, however, has the support of only one Republican member of Congress from Florida: Rep. Laurel Lee.
The Trump campaign responded to the endorsements by accusing DeSantis of using his veto power as governor to force them to back his potential White House run.
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“It’s no surprise that Ron DeSantis and his political cronies have continued to terrorize the Florida legislature with the threat of his veto pen if they don’t acquiesce to his demand to endorse his candidacy,” campaign spokesman Stephen Cheung said in a statement.
“There are some brave legislators who have stood up to DeSantis’ Swamp-like behavior and resisted his intimidation tactics in order to do what is right for Florida and the country. Those who he can’t control — including almost the entirety of the Florida federal congressional delegation — have endorsed President Trump because he’s the only candidate who can beat Joe Biden and take back the White House,” he added.
Trump is the overwhelming front-runner in the 2024 race for the Republican nomination, according to polls, with DeSantis coming in a distant second. When the governor’s expected campaign launch comes, he will join a growing field that includes former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, businessman Vivek Ramaswamy, conservative talk show host Larry Elder and former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson.
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