Trump-DeSantis drama casts shadow on Florida GOP House retreat

WASHINGTON. This week, Republicans in the House of Representatives are heading to Florida for their annual retreat — straight into the belly of the beast of the 2024 presidential campaign.

The Sunshine State is home to former President Donald Trump, who wants his old job back, and Gov. Ron DeSantis, a young conservative star who has yet to announce his candidacy for president but is making not-so-subtle moves to break out for the GOP nomination. from Trump.

As their three-day caucuses begin Sunday in Orlando, Republicans are desperate to stay out of the growing Trump-DeSantis brawl. They are fighting to maintain control of their razor-thin majority in the House of Representatives, and they are fully aware that a big crushing and protracted fight between two GOP heavyweights could divide the 222-member conference and distract them from that goal.

“I could have supported in the primaries, but I didn’t. I could have supported, but I didn’t,” Speaker Kevin McCarthy said last week in Washington.

Its members are trying to keep public attention on maintaining control of the House.

“If we don’t have a majority, the president won’t do us any good,” added Rep. Tim Burchett, R-Tenn.

After a better-than-expected November midterm election result, Democrats only need to flip five House seats and keep their current ones to regain a majority in 2024. This task may be easier for Republicans in the House of Representatives with a strong contender not named Trump at the top of the ticket. NBC News reported Friday that New York law enforcement was preparing for a possible indictment of Trump as early as this week; On Saturday, Trump urged supporters to “protest” and “take back our nation” if that happens.

This week at the JW Marriott Grande Lakes Hotel in Orlando, Republicans will discuss their ideas and governance strategy for the next two years, including how their conference will deliver spending cuts without the risk of debt defaults and engage the American public in countless oversight investigations by the administration and family. Biden.

Panel discussions at the retreat will focus on everything from the growing threat from China and border security to energy and economics.

“House Republicans are pleased to convene for our annual issue conference as we work to fulfill our commitment to America and build a strong economy, a secure nation, a future of freedom and accountable government,” the House of Representatives said in a statement. Republican Conference Chair Elise Stefanik, RN.Y., who organizes a retreat with the Congressional Institute.

While McCarthy, Lavra Republican Majority Leader Steve Scalise, and the vast majority of Republicans in the House of Representatives prefer to stay out of the nascent primary struggle, more than two dozen House lawmakers support Trump, who remains hugely popular among GOP supporters. and consistently leads among its rivals in the polls.

Among those who supported Trump are Stefanik, GOP leader No. 4; Rep. Richard Hudson of North Carolina, campaign manager for the GOP House of Representatives this cycle; Rep. Ronnie Jackson of Texas, Trump’s former White House physician; Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan of Ohio; and conservative representatives Matt Goetz of Florida, Mary Miller of Illinois, Paul Gosar of Arizona, Lauren Boebert of Colorado, and Harriet Hageman of Wyoming.

Asked how she felt about DeSantis’ trip to Iowa this month, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Green, D-G., a top Trump ally, replied, “Well, he’s the governor of Florida, so I don’t know how Florida feels about it.” . … I support President Trump.”

On St. Patrick’s Day, Florida Republicans, including Representatives Brian Mast, Byron Donalds, Kat Cammack, Neil Dunn, Mike Walz, Corey Mills, and Jackson, gathered at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago golf resort to run for the Palm Beach County Republican Party. Dinner on Lincoln Day. Trump delivered the keynote speech.

But DeSantis caused a stir when he toured the country on a book tour. And many Republicans in Congress are urging the former House member to race against Trump.

While he hasn’t made any official statements about the White House proposal, DeSantis reiterated his position last week. first congressional approval from Rep. Chip Roy, Texas, who recently attended a donor meeting for DeSantis in Florida.

DeSantis has “proven his ability to win elections time and time again. When other Republicans were losing key races, Governor DeSantis presented a positive vision for the future with prudent, conservative actions,” Roy said in his endorsement. “The result was crystal clear: Republicans enjoyed massive, historic protests across the state.”

One former Florida Republican lawmaker who worked with DeSantis said Trump remains incredibly popular in his district, but noted that DeSantis has received praise from both Republican politicians and voters for his aggressive pursuit of stopping Covid restrictions in the state.

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