It has all led to this.
Three days before Election Day, Ron DeSantis joined the man who has played a larger role than any other person or issue in skyrocketing his career from Freedom Caucus congressman to the candidate Republicans nominated to lead the state of Florida.
The two men on stage Saturday night took wildly different paths to arrive at this moment — one a businessman-reality star and the other an Ivy League military man — but in their rally speeches to a crowd of around 5,000 people, they made it clear their political fates were intertwined.
“Ron DeSantis, I’ve known him a long time,” President Donald Trump said. “He’s a smart guy; he’s a great guy. He’ll keep your jobs going way up, he’ll keep your taxes going way down.”
“President Obama was in Florida the other day — he didn’t get a crowd this big, not even close,” DeSantis said shortly Trump’s introduction, referring to Obama’s visit to Miami on Friday on behalf of Democrats Andrew Gillum and Sen. Bill Nelson.
“I want to thank President Trump for keeping his word on behalf of the American people,” he added, before rattling off a list of his favorite Trump accomplishments, such as ending the Iran nuclear deal and moving the embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.
“With me as governor we will not raise taxes and we will never have an income tax,” he said. “Are we going to build off the success Florida has had or are we going to put a far-left, Bernie-Sanders, anti-law enforcement, tax-raising radical in the Governor’s Mansion? I don’t think so.”
At the rally in a chilly hangar at the Pensacola International Airport, President Trump disembarked directly from Air Force One to dramatically walk through massive steel doors and take the podium. Among Republican politicos, the president is known as the ultimate “closer,” who defied the polls to clinch the win in 2016 based in part on his campaign strategy in the final days before the election.
It was clear Saturday evening that he is doing all in his power to bestow his supporters’ enthusiasm on every single Republican on Florida’s statewide ticket. One by one, he handed out his endorsement of all the candidates by name, including down-ballot races such as Agriculture Commissioner candidate Matt Caldwell, Attorney General candidate Ashley Moody and Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis — all of whom were at the rally.
Read more at our news partner, the Miami Herald.