On Tuesday, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis made a rare return trip to Washington. He served in the House before running for governor, interacting with about a dozen Republicans.
But his trip to Capitol Hill failed to give much momentum to an anticipated presidential bid among congressional Republicans, an important group for White House aspirants.
Principal Dan Meuser, who attended a gathering of about 100 people and remains undecided at the race, left the impression that DeSantis was close to making an announcement. “It’s up to him.” Another attendee, Rep. Dan Crenshaw of Texas, said, “I stay away from it.”
Texas Rep. Lance Gooden, meanwhile, said: statement Endorsing Donald J. Trump — during Mr. DeSantis’ event.
Gooden said in an interview after meeting DeSantis at the rally: “I love Donald Trump. But I didn’t want to jump out of my loyalty and endorse him. I made a promise to… I chose today and wanted to hop on the Trump train.”
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According to attendees, DeSantis made time for long conversations with all the members he wanted to talk to.
DeSantis is scheduled to return to the capital on Friday to speak at a conference of the conservative Heritage Foundation before traveling to Austin, Texas for the event.
From there, he plans to travel abroad on trade missions that the Governor’s Office has not publicly announced. The itinerary will include a meeting with Prime Minister Fumio Kishida in Tokyo before heading to Seoul, Tel Aviv and London, according to people familiar with the plan.
Crenshaw said DeSantis spoke mostly about Florida policy on Tuesday. A Texas congressman who has criticized Trump’s lies about the 2020 election said he would not get involved.
DeSantis served six years in the House of Representatives before running for governor in 2018, but has done little to maintain his relationship with Congress. He has largely avoided rallies in Washington in recent years for groups such as the National Governors Association and the Republican Governors Association, and although his event on Tuesday was billed as a handshake, how many Republicans were invited? Ka was a former colleague of his.
One of those lawmakers, Rep. Darin Lahood of Illinois, said he was not ready to endorse Mr. DeSantis.
“Governor DeSantis has not announced that he intends to run for president. The time will come,” Lahud said in an interview with Fox News. “Today is an opportunity to hear again about the incredible success that Governor DeSantis has achieved in Florida, and an opportunity for my colleagues to reunite with him.”
The event was held in an event space a short walk from the Capitol and about three miles from the White House. The room was rented by a group called And To The Republic, formed by Michigan-born Republican strategist Tori Sachs, to help the governor of Florida lay the groundwork for a presidency, and other recent events. has hosted
About 20 protesters gathered outside and used loudspeakers and loudspeakers to harass attendees with “shame” chants. However, Mr. DeSantis entered using the door on the side away from the demonstrators.
The event was organized in part by Rep. Chip Roy of Texas and Rep. Thomas Massey of Kentucky, two Republican congressmen who endorsed Mr. DeSantis for president. A third, Rep. Laurel Lee from Florida, endorsed DeSantis ahead of the meeting on Tuesday.
The front-runner, Trump started the campaign five months ago, attracting 45 House Republican votes, seven of which are from Florida. Mr Trump’s team announced his three Republican supporters in Florida, Brian Mast, John Rutherford and Greg Stube, 24 hours before Mr DeSantis arrived in Washington.
Rep. Ken Buck, a Republican from Colorado, attended Tuesday’s event, but his attendance should not be viewed as an endorsement, but as an opportunity to discuss policy issues in different parts of the country. said.
Buck said he sat next to DeSantis when he was a member of the House Judiciary Committee and was “happy to work with him in a general way.”
“Most of us in attendance do not endorse him publicly. I have been to events for others and will continue to do so,” Buck said. rice field. “It’s a chance for Ron to come to town and raise his profile a bit.”
Maggie Haberman and Jonathan Wiseman contributed to the report.
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