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‘You think I’m crazy? ‘Florida Republicans Trump vs. DeSantis

The 20 Republican congressmen in the Florida delegation are clearly wary of picking between the two front-runners for 2024. is not difficult – wrong decisions run the risk of political repercussions.

Trump is notorious for his retaliatory politics, beating Republican lawmakers in the post-White House two years. But as his influence within the party wanes, Republicans in Florida are keenly aware of the need for a strong relationship with the governor.

And DeSantis, who has been particularly vocal in responding to natural disasters and The Home State Project, has the power to inflict pain on his own resentment. This will make Florida’s House Republicans very tight-lipped as they gather for their annual retreat scheduled to begin in Orlando on Sunday.

first lawmaker Aaron Bean (R-Fla.) is more terse than Dunn, referring to a 40-year-old film about a woman who is forced to kill one of her two children, calling it “Sophie’s Choice.” called.

Another Florida Republican, who was granted anonymity to speak candidly, said Don vs. Ron said, “Would you like to talk about it? You think I’m crazy?”

Conversations with all members of Florida’s Republican congressional delegation (except Congressmen) Greg SteubeHis office did not respond to written requests for comment while he was recovering from a fall in January), pointing to clearing any future rifts about which candidate to endorse. Decision time is fast approaching as polls show party leaders tend to head for a two-way battle between the two Floridians.

Trump has yet to start seeking endorsements in the state, but his support levels on The Hill are still off to a lackluster start. He is the only Republican in Florida. Matt Gates and Anna Paulina Lunahas publicly backed the 2024 bid since launching the campaign in November.

“Governor DeSantis or Trump, who am I for? Trump,” Luna said without a second. “I love DeSantis. I don’t think anyone can compete with him for governor and I’m sad to see him leave early. increase.”

Others are preparing to hear a request for approval from Trump.

“I expect to get a call soon,” said the rep. Gus Birirakis (R-Fla.) said he was undecided in the Republican primary and would consider DeSantis. “We have good discussions.”

No member of Florida has openly endorsed DeSantis, who has yet to announce a campaign. One Republican said DeSantis’ outreach so far was “non-existent.”

For the person in charge Byron Donalds (R-Fla.) said: So members have no intention of putting themselves at risk. ”

However, some subtly indicated that they were leaning towards governorship.

“DeSantis is an ideal candidate,” said the Florida Republican congressman, who requested anonymity to speak candidly.

“The most important thing is to have Florida in the mix,” Bean said. And when pressed about the choice, Bean didn’t give a definitive answer, but praised DeSantis, noting that the two had served four years “side by side” in the state Senate.

DeSantis also has close relationships with other members of Congress. There are also former colleagues in the House, where he served three terms before winning the governor’s mansion in 2018. Yet other Florida Republicans know him from his own administration.first lawmaker Laurel Lee For example, (R-Fla.) served as Secretary of State.

Florida GOP members like Neil and Freshman Rep. Corey Millsthey say they have made up their minds about the presidential race but have refused to name their choice. Daniel Webster, Mario Diaz Ballart and Verne Buchananindicated that it was waiting to see who else would run.

“We will have to make a choice,” said the representative. John Rutherford (R-Fla.). “Choices are looming. …I’m open, but I think it’s good for Florida.”

Buchanan declared: I want things to unfold, and there will be so many people involved.

Republicans in Florida’s House of Representatives have resorted to multiple different strategies to deal with ahead of the election, from avoiding the primary to only endorsing one of the two state candidates after they drop out. I mentioned

But considering their options also means recognizing each person’s strengths and weaknesses.

Some Republicans in Florida noted how accessible Trump is, not to mention his ability to provide much-needed resources in constituencies when it counts. While the delegation mostly reports good working relationships with the governor’s staff, other Florida Republicans personally said DeSantis would build relationships with them ahead of potential execution. I pointed out that I rarely asked for it.

Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) preceded DeSantis at the governor’s mansion in a brief interview, alluding to a close line of communication with DeSantis and explaining the bumpy relationship during their transition.

“I don’t know about DeSantis because he doesn’t talk to me. I talk to Trump. I wish him luck,” said Scott, who has “historically” never endorsed in a primary. pointed out.

Gaetz reveals that his once strong relationship with DeSantis has broken down since the former helped the latter win the governor’s mansion.

“No offense to me, but we’re not as close as when I was his transition chair,” Gates said.

DeSantis supporters counter that he could be Trump without the drama, arguing that anointing him will help keep the party away from the constant scandals during the former president’s presidency. They see the Florida governor as skilled enough to keep his distance, but admit it’s too early and should the duo end up sharing the debate stage. , waiting to see how he deals with bruise-inducing Trump.

Several across the state have dismissed the pressing issue entirely. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) said there was “absolutely no time to think” about Trump vs. Trump. DeSantis, however, the rivalry has been a constant topic of discussion among other legislators in the state.

Rubio added that the primary is “a long way off.”

But other Florida Republicans are keenly aware that they’ll be heading to Trump and DeSantis’ shared backyard when they leave the House next week.

“It’s going to be a tough primary,” Rutherford said. “I’ll be there soon, but it’s still a little early.”

Burgess Everett and Marianne LeVine contributed to this report.

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