Matt Gaetz picks Donald Trump over Ron DeSantis in 2024
Matt Gaetz and Donald Trump.

matt gaetz trump
'We won’t accept any imitation.'

Back in 2018, U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz was central to the campaign of Republican gubernatorial candidate Ron DeSantis.

Gaetz was not central to the re-election effort, and if a piece from the Daily Caller he wrote is any indication, he’s not on board with the DeSantis 2024 trial balloon being floated on the Right, especially in the wake of the Midterm Elections.

Rather, Gaetz wants four more years of Donald Trump. Or as he put it, “America needs Donald Trump in the White House.”

“The job President Trump started was not finished. Only Trump can be trusted to enact the ‘America First’ agenda he ran on in 2016. We won’t accept any imitation. Despite what many Washington, D.C., conservative elites want you to believe, we are not in the ‘post-Trump era’ or close to it,” Gaetz contended.

The Congressman then called out DeSantis’ leading donor.

“Just look at who is lined up against Trump already in the 2024 primary. It’s folks like Paul Ryan or billionaire mega-donor Ken Griffin, who is planning to back a Trump challenge. POLITICO reports Griffin ‘wants to … blunt the vein of populism that has complicated the party’s relationship with the corporate world.'”

Griffin gave DeSantis $5 million this cycle, and his belief is that America would be “well-served by him as President.” Gaetz believes that illustrates further the need to “drain the Swamp,” as Trump famously put it.

“Why would we stop the progress now and go back to Republicans supported by Wall Street? We shouldn’t bench our star quarterback at halftime.”

The apparent distancing between Gaetz and DeSantis was evident last year, as the Congressman was reportedly being investigated by the Department of Justice. DeSantis said that he didn’t “have anything to say,” shutting down that line of inquiry, and refusing the chance to defend someone who was key in his ascent to the GOP nomination and Governor’s Office.

In 2018, Gaetz accompanied DeSantis on a three-stop tour of cities, joining DeSantis during question and answer sessions at those events. He also accompanied DeSantis to at least one debate during the Primary campaign.

And once the Primary was in the rearview, Gaetz only got rougher with DeSantis’ then-General Election opponent.

“I don’t know whether to call him Andrew Gillum or ‘Andrew Kill-‘em,’” Gaetz said during an October campaign event with DeSantis in Southwest Florida of DeSantis’ then opponent. The joke was about Tallahassee’s murder rate, and critics saw it as just another in a series of racial gaffes from the DeSantis side.

Gillum was under scrutiny at the time from the FBI, which was investigating larger issues in Tallahassee. Gaetz suggested a better name for the Democratic nominee would be “Andrew Guilty.”

Gaetz and DeSantis were fixtures at events not just in Gaetz’s home Panhandle, but throughout the state. He ended up with a plum prize, of course, a prominent role on the Governor’s transition team.

Gaetz’s influence was felt in an early policy decision of DeSantis, reversing the Rick Scott era prohibition on offering flower for smoking in the state’s medical marijuana program.

“Whether they have to smoke it or not, who am I to judge that?” DeSantis said. “I want people to have their suffering relieved. I don’t think this law is up to snuff.”

But that is apparently ancient history, as Gaetz has lined up against the Governor.

A.G. Gancarski

A.G. Gancarski has written for FloridaPolitics.com since 2014. He is based in Northeast Florida. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter: @AGGancarski


10 comments

  • Tom

    November 10, 2022 at 11:24 am

    No biggie bout Gaetz
    Ron dominates the landscape.

  • Frankie M.

    November 10, 2022 at 12:24 pm

    Gaetz is a man of honour. He will not accept some cheap substitution. While Trump is often imitated he has never been duplicated. The good thing for Desantis is that when tbey debate he’ll be forced to finally admit Trump lost to sleepy Joe in 2020. I can’t wait!

    • Frankie M.

      November 10, 2022 at 12:33 pm

      Per politico…

      “His entire political lens is acalculation of what it means for overtaking Trump,” said David Jolly, the former Florida Republican congressman who is now helping start a third political party. “His previous eschewing of 2020 election fraud is less about personal conviction and more about not strengthening Trump. “

      • Frankie M.

        November 10, 2022 at 12:38 pm

        Maybe he gets asked these questions so much because he never answers them. Can’t wait for the awkward silence at his next debate. I can guarantee you Trump won’t be shy.

        When asked by reporters whether the last presidential election was rigged, DeSantis has instead highlighted changes to election laws he has supported or simply changed the topic.

        “I’ve been asked that a hundred different times. Anyone have a question on the topic of the day?” DeSantis said during a mid-June press conference. He then went on to criticize the Jan. 6 hearings that were being held at the time. DeSantis, however, condemned the Jan. 6 insurrection in the immediate aftermath of the riot.

  • Ann W

    November 10, 2022 at 12:56 pm

    If Trump is the nominee in 2024, we can watch Biden be swotn in for a second term. Trump did good things for the country but his narcisstic personality will bring all the crazies out and we will lode in 2024.

  • Tom

    November 10, 2022 at 1:01 pm

    Frankie, you got your ass kicked!
    Shut the hell up!
    Gaetz honor, lmao.

    Dave holly Jolly total chameleon. A liberal talking head who slimes for morning hoe and Mika.

    Third party, you idiots. You gotta collect hundred of thousands of verified sigs to qualify in 50 states! Nice try. Liz Cheney LMAO.

    The RINOS are pathetic. Who is the consultant Wilson, peter h? Lincoln. LMAO.

    All you Dums got balls crushed!
    DeSantis blew you out!

  • Harold Finch

    November 11, 2022 at 9:40 am

    At this point in time, basically all Republicns feel it is time to move on from the Trump circus and pedohiles like Gaetz supporting Trump are part of the reason!! Both have no morals and are thw two of the main acts of the circus, with the third being Majorie Taylor Greene!.
    With DeSantis, we have an opportunity to bring a brilliant, veteran, and family man to the White House.
    Republicans I talk to every day, want to move on from Trump!!

  • Leonard

    November 11, 2022 at 5:27 pm

    Who really cares what Gaetz says? He is a do-nothing blow hard. It would sure be nice if 45 would stop acting like a child having a temper tantrum. One of his guys just had a HUGE blowout win in Florida…he should take a victory lap. DeSantis hasn’t announced he is running for President….and even if he does…it will be at least a year from now. A lot can happen in a year.

  • Tom

    November 12, 2022 at 5:34 pm

    DeSantis runs, defeats Trump on a call for a new generation of leadership. He wins, defeats Biden who would be 82 yrs old, with the same call for new generation, hard contrast on issues.
    This young JFK appeal will overwhelm Dems, Biden. Done!

  • just sayin

    November 15, 2022 at 10:05 am

    If there were ever a reason for Republicans to stop supporting Trump….

Comments are closed.


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