Brian Mast endorses Donald Trump, becomes latest to ignore Ron DeSantis’ pleas to stay neutral
Brian Mast wants to stamp out antisemitism.

Three Florida Republican members of the congressional delegation announced their support in the last 24 hours.

U.S. Rep. Brian Mast told CNN he will support Donald Trump for President in 2024. The Stuart Republican is the seventh member of Florida’s congressional delegation to back the former President.

Capitol Hill reporter Melanie Zanona broke the news, reporting Mast will chair a Veterans For Trump group for the campaign. Mast, an Army veteran, served as a bomb disposal officer in Afghanistan and lost both legs attempting to disarm an improvised explosive device.

In Florida circles, Mast’s choice of Trump over Gov. Ron DeSantis created its own political shockwaves. DeSantis is expected to formally announce his candidacy for President within weeks.

Moreover, DeSantis and Mast have been close allies for years. Both served in the U.S. House together for nearly two years, and worked closely on environmental issues. During DeSantis’ first two years as Governor, he made funding water issues a central piece of his agenda, and often held press conferences with Mast alongside him.

The two stood together on sometimes controversial issues, like a total replacement of board members of the South Florida Water Management District and a regionally divisive reworking of water management for Lake Okeechobee. Mast also stood alongside DeSantis during a waterfront condemnation of President Joe Biden for failing to budget money for Everglades restoration.

Yet news of Mast’s support of Trump wasn’t a total surprise. His district is near Mar-a-Lago, and he has regularly been involved in public appearances with Donald Trump Jr.

He was also among the Republican representatives who voted to object to certifying Biden’s victory over Trump in 2020.

The news came days after DeSantis pollster Ryan Tyson made calls to several members of the Florida congressional delegation asking them to hold off on endorsing anyone.

But sources close to some delegation members say calls from a surrogate have simply proved less effective than calls between representatives and Trump himself.

Trump advisor Susie Wiles, who had a falling out with DeSantis after working his 2018 campaign for Governor, called multiple delegation members weeks ago and set up individual conversations between the lawmakers and the former President.

That has generated results. While U.S. Reps. Matt Gaetz and Anna Paulina Luna both endorsed Trump ahead of the November launch of his campaign, endorsements in the past two weeks have snowballed rapidly. U.S. Rep. Byron Donalds, a Naples Republican, announced his support for Trump on April 6. Since that time, Cory Mills, John Rutherford, Greg Steube and now Mast also formally boarded the Trump train.

Meanwhile, U.S. Rep. Laurel Lee, who previously served as DeSantis’ Secretary of State, on Tuesday became the first member of the delegation to endorse DeSantis.

Jacob Ogles

Jacob Ogles has covered politics in Florida since 2000 for regional outlets including SRQ Magazine in Sarasota, The News-Press in Fort Myers and The Daily Commercial in Leesburg. His work has appeared nationally in The Advocate, Wired and other publications. Events like SRQ’s Where The Votes Are workshops made Ogles one of Southwest Florida’s most respected political analysts, and outlets like WWSB ABC 7 and WSRQ Sarasota have featured his insights. He can be reached at [email protected].

One comment

  • Dont Say FLA

    April 19, 2023 at 10:21 am

    It’s nice of folks to endorse Trump out in public and all. That way we know who all to vote out when we vote to keep Losing Donald Trump irrelevant.

Comments are closed.


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