Two weeks ago, President Trump tweeted effusive praise of Florida Rep. Ron DeSantis (R), calling the congressman "a brilliant young leader" and encouraging him to run for governor. On Friday morning, DeSantis officially heeded the president's call — doing so on Trump's favorite show, Fox & Friends.
"A few weeks ago the president tweeted support for me as a candidate for governor of Florida, so today we are going to be filing the paperwork to begin that effort," DeSantis said. He also invoked one of Trump's favorite slogans, explaining that "with the support of the president, I'm in a position to exercise the leadership that can ... drain the swamp in Tallahassee, which needs to be drained, just like Washington."
— Ainsley Earhardt (@ainsleyearhardt) January 5, 2018
DeSantis' candidacy has been rumored for months. His main rival in the Republican primary is expected to be Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam, who Politico says is the candidate of choice for many of Florida's big Republican players.
DeSantis doesn't have significant name recognition in the Sunshine State as he has only been a U.S. representative since 2012, Politico notes, predicting that the congressman's candidacy will bank largely on the vocal support he has received from Trump. DeSantis has appeared several times on Fox News to align himself with the president's agenda as well as cast doubt on the claims of Russian collusion that have dogged the Trump administration.
The same day that Trump tweeted his support of DeSantis for governor, the White House actually acknowledged that the president's missive was spurred by him watching a certain news network aboard Air Force One: "Fox News, which played on cabin TVs, featured a segment with Rep. DeSantis toward the end of the flight."