While Florida governor Ron DeSantis has not formally said whether he plans to run for president in 2024, he’s already secured an endorsement from at least one member of the conservative House Freedom Caucus.
Representative Chip Roy (R., Texas) endorsed the governor on Wednesday.
“The next President of the United States must be a vibrant and energetic leader with the faith, vision and courage to chart a new course,” Roy said in a statement. “America needs a leader who will truly defend her and empower the people against the destructive force of unrestrained government and corporate excess, profligate spending, and woke cultural indoctrination. That leader is Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.”
Roy’s endorsement calls DeSantis “a man of conviction” who has “unequivocally” made Florida “stronger and freer.”
“Economic growth and prosperity in Florida surged upon his firm rejection of the devastating COVID mandates foisted upon us by foolishly empowered Washington bureaucrats,” he said.
The congressman noted that DeSantis “stood with Texas in defense of our border — sending a message to elites in Martha’s Vineyard that they cannot ignore the human and economic toll of open borders.”
Roy concluded: “When Republicans choose our 2024 presidential nominee — whom I intend to support against Joe Biden or any other Democrat candidate — I believe it’s time for a new generation of leadership. It’s time for younger, but proven, leadership to offer America eight solid years of transformational change. It’s time for Ron DeSantis to be President of the United States.”
DeSantis, who served in the House from 2013 to 2018, was a founding member of the House Freedom Caucus. The governor visited with the caucus last month to offer an update on the work he is doing in Florida.
Roy is a staunch conservative who led a group of 19 defectors in opposing Kevin McCarthy’s bid for the House speakership earlier this year. Roy said at the time that he was opposing McCarthy because, “I want the tools or I want the leadership to stop the swamp from running over the average American every single day.”
He later added: “I need to make sure that the Rules Committee is structured in such a way that those of us who are what I would call fiscal conservatives” are able “to stop the sort of train of the swamp.”
Roy’s endorsement shows that DeSantis could in fact have appeal with hard-right conservatives who have typically supported Trump. Roy, who was once a Trump ally, opposed efforts to overturn the results of the Electoral College after the 2020 election. He voted to certify the results and acknowledged the move “may well sign my political death warrant, but so be it.” Trump later condemned Roy’s bid to become the third-ranking House Republican saying Roy “has not done a great job.”
In November 2022, Roy responded to a clip of former president Donald Trump calling DeSantis “Ron DeSanctimonious” by saying, “Or.. Ron De…SaidNoToFauci… that’s another angle… #StandUpForAmerica.”
He later added: “My comment is to let people know I believe Ron DeSantis is a great Governor and I don’t give two sh*ts what any current or former Congress-critters… or Presidents… think about him. #StandUpForAmerica”
Roy wrote an op-ed for the Washington Examiner in November, after Republicans had a less-than-stellar outing in the midterm election. He blamed McCarthy and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) for the “unforced errors” that led to Republicans’ disappointing performance. He suggested the GOP should model itself after DeSantis’s “unapologetic” approach to governance.
“We have to fight for something,” Roy wrote. “Doing so requires a willingness to take on real political risk to fight for the American people. It requires taking the kind of political risk Gov. Ron DeSantis has unapologetically taken in Florida — a key to why he crushed his Democratic competition.”
Roy’s endorsement comes as former Trump official Ken Cuccinelli is kicking off a tour of the early primary states this week to meet with voters and discuss why the Florida governor should run in 2024. Cuccinelli, who previously served as the acting deputy secretary of Homeland Security under Trump, announced the launch of the Never Back Down PAC last week to urge DeSantis to run for president in 2024.