Rep. Michael Waltz (R-Fla.) endorsed former President Donald Trump’s 2024 White House bid on Thursday, adding his name to the growing list of Florida Republicans backing Trump over his likely primary opponent, Gov. Ron DeSantis.
“Today I am proud to endorse Donald J. Trump for President,” Waltz said in a statement. “Under his leadership, President Trump secured our southern border, created seven million jobs with record-low unemployment, brought manufacturing back to the U.S., made America energy independent and affordable, brokered historic Middle East peace deals, destroyed the ISIS caliphate, launched the Space Force, took out Soleimani, gave veterans choice, and put measures in place to stop China’s march towards global dominance.”
Waltz represents the district DeSantis held before being elected governor in 2018. His endorsement of Trump makes him the latest member of Florida’s Republican congressional delegation to throw his support behind the former president.
Trump now has the support of at least half of Florida’s 20 House Republicans, with several coming out for him just this week alone. While there was little doubt that some Florida members, like Reps. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), would back Trump, others, like Rep. Byron Donalds (R-Fla.), were more surprising.
So far, only one Florida congressional Republican has endorsed DeSantis: Rep. Laurel Lee (R-Fla.), who served as the governor’s secretary of state.
DeSantis hasn’t formally launched a presidential campaign yet, though he’s expected to do so in May or June. While he’s been seen for months as the most serious Republican challenger to Trump, he’s suffered a series of political setbacks in recent weeks and his standing in the polls has begun to slump.
A super PAC backing DeSantis, Never Back Down, has begun to go after Trump more directly and is preparing field operations in critical early-voting states like Iowa and New Hampshire.