Mike Lee endorsement of Donald Trump hurts Ron DeSantis in key Utah
Republican U.S. Sen. Mike Lee is blocking TPS for Venezuelans ahead of the summer break.

U.S. Sen. Mike Lee
The Governor called Florida the 'Utah of the Southeast.' Yet its Senator is endorsing a familiar quantity.

Ron DeSantis suffered a campaign rebuke Friday night when Sen. Mike Lee of Utah endorsed Donald Trump for President.

“Look, whether you like Donald Trump or not, whether you agree with everything he says, or not, he is our one opportunity to choose order over chaos and putting America first over America last. It’s time to get behind him,”  Lee said on Fox News Friday night.

The Senator said “if you are not content with the status quo, the status quo of lawlessness, of putting America last. It’s time to get behind Donald Trump and I wholeheartedly endorse Donald J. Trump in his bid for the presidency in 2024.”

The Lee endorsement comes amid DeSantis declines in polling in early states, one foreshadowed by the Governor’s slide in the Senator’s state.

The most recent polling from Utah shows Trump with a strong lead over second-place DeSantis, with Nikki Haley in a competitive third place.

The Deseret News/Hinckley Institute of Politics survey conducted in September shows Trump with 33% support, DeSantis with 15% and the former South Carolina Governor drawing 11% support.

DeSantis has proclaimed Florida’s affinity for the state. At the Utah Republican Convention in April, he contended his home state is the “Utah of the Southeast.”

“I think underlying the success of Utah has been a commitment to freedom like Florida. Utah proves that freedom works,” DeSantis said. “Now over the last few years since I’ve been Governor, people have looked to Florida for leadership in a variety of different ways.”

DeSantis also said he “was recently visiting with some folks in Iowa and people said, you know, Iowa, they’re really the Florida of the Midwest with all the conservative stuff they’re doing. Well, let me just tell you maybe it’s a little secret, but it might just be that Florida is the Utah of the Southeast.”

More recently, DeSantis defended Florida’s education standards regarding the teaching of slavery and its potential benefits to the enslaved during a Utah press conference where legislators were endorsing him, saying “they’re probably going to show that some of the folks that eventually parlayed, you know, being a blacksmith into doing things later in life.”

DeSantis has quarrel with Utah’s other Senator also. Last year, he lashed out at Mitt Romney for leaning toward Nikki Haley in the 2024 Republican Primary race.

“Well, look, Romney, you know, he’s attacked me as saying, I mean, I don’t even know. He uses, like, the left-wing clichés to do that. I don’t really know Mitt Romney. But clearly, he views Nikki as more in line with what the direction he wants to go, which to me is just a surrender caucus of Republicans who are never going to fight for anybody, who are going to go to D.C. and just let business as usual take hold. We cannot afford that. This country is declining,” DeSantis said.

The animus is a two-way street, however.

In a new book, Romney of Utah savaged the Florida Governor in various quotes, suggesting the Governor is a bad retail politician with a Trump-like penchant for authoritarianism.

“There’s just no warmth at all,” goes Romney’s initial read of the Governor, from McKay Coppins’ biography of the Senator, entitled “Romney: a Reckoning.”

“He looks like he’s got a toothache,” Romney said, describing the Governor’s “selfies” with Hawkeye State voters.

Romney, who famously has clashed with Trump for years, suggests that any gap between the former President and the Florida Governor is a distinction without a difference when it comes to political philosophy.

“He’s much smarter than Trump. … You might point out, ‘Mitt, DeSantis is real smart — do you want an authoritarian who’s smart or one who’s not smart?’ … I realize there’s a peril to having someone who’s smart and pulling in a direction that’s dangerous,” Romney told Coppins.

The DeSantis War Room has mocked Romney’s read of their client.

“Romney warns that Ron DeSantis is ‘dangerous’ and ‘authoritarian,’ presumably because he has enacted conservative policy instead of just talking about it,” read a post on the group’s X account.

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


  • Impeach Biden

    January 12, 2024 at 9:08 pm

    Gancarski a registered Republican. Uh huh, and Joe Biden does not have dementia.

  • MH/Duuuval

    January 12, 2024 at 10:15 pm

    It is possible to be loyal to GOP core values and not in complete denial about the existence of gravity — as is DJT who considers himself above all laws, human and scientific.

  • PeterH

    January 13, 2024 at 1:16 am

    What is wrong with the voters of Utah …… why did they pick such a loser like Mike Lee to represent them? This statement to Fox says it all:

    “Look, whether you like Donald Trump or not, whether you agree with everything he says, or not, he is our one opportunity to choose order over chaos and putting America first over America last. It’s time to get behind him,…..”

    Sorry Mike but Trump is the promise of chaos!

  • Earl Pitts "Sage Political Expert Emeritas" American

    January 13, 2024 at 8:51 am

    Good mornting Sage Patriots,
    Ron’s rally will come later in the election cycle. Don’s already agreed to withdraw 2 weeks prior to election day (to spend more time with his family than the office of POTUS will allow). And Ron’s already agreed to appoint Don to the newly soon to be created “Office of Sage Border Czar”.
    We are not mad at Mike Lee for his “Lame Attempt” at Back-Stabbing Ron DeSantis *our next Sage POTUS* ….. and will likely appoint Mike to an ambassadorship of some tiny South American Country when he becomes unemployed at some un-determined point in the near future. Its all good Mike.
    So “Listen Up” Sage Patriots Nation-Wide:
    And your “ONE JOB” is to get your Big ‘Ole BA-DONK-A-DONK up off the couch and Push, Pull, or Drag IT in “For The All Critical Vote” for The Sage Ron DeSantis.
    Earl Pitts American
    *and Mike we understand and we are really not mad at you* *really*

    • Eugene Krabs

      January 13, 2024 at 9:12 am

      Mike is really luckey yall are the bigger persons who wont make him pay for his back stabbing this early in an election cycle, eugene

Comments are closed.


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