Former President Donald Trump during the Florida Freedom Summit in Kissimmee, Fla. (File)

Trump Dominates Florida Freedom Summit, Where It All Started For Gov. DeSantis In 2018

In 2018, Ron DeSantis' political journey took a turn at the Gaylord Palms Resort in Kissimmee, Florida. Fast forward to the present day, and the same venue became a battleground for his presidential aspirations. I
Former President Donald Trump during the Florida Freedom Summit in Kissimmee, Fla., on Saturday.

In 2018, Ron DeSantis’ political journey took a turn at the Gaylord Palms Resort in Kissimmee, Florida. Fast forward to the present day, and the same venue became a battleground for his presidential aspirations. I

From his initial endorsement by former President Donald Trump to the recent dominance of Trump in the Republican Party, we will analyze the current state of DeSantis’ campaign and its impact on the Florida GOP grassroots base.

The 2018 Turning Point

Ron DeSantis’ path to prominence began in 2018 when he ran for governor of Florida against Adam Putnam, a favored candidate backed by the Republican establishment.

Despite Putnam’s lead in the polls, DeSantis secured a crucial endorsement from then-President Donald Trump.

The Gaylord Palms Resort served as the backdrop for a pivotal Fox News-hosted debate where DeSantis’ solid performance propelled him ahead of Putnam.

This victory not only secured the Republican nomination for Florida governor but also set the stage for his subsequent presidential ambitions.

Read: Florida Gov. DeSantis Slams Trump Camp’s “Foot Fetish” Questions If Trump Has “Balls” To Show Up

The Dominance of Trump

Fast forward five years, and it is evident that the Republican Party, especially in Florida, is dominated by Donald Trump.

His months-long criticism of DeSantis has resulted in a significant lead in the presidential race, leaving DeSantis struggling to maintain his grip on the Florida GOP grassroots base.

The sentiment among many supporters is that they want to see Trump have four uninterrupted years to further his agenda without the distraction of reelection.

This was evidenced at Saturday’s “Freedom Summit” hosted by the Republican Party of Florida, where chants of “we love Trump” echoed through the convention hall.

The Trump Effect on DeSantis

The strong pro-Trump sentiment at the Freedom Summit was evident from the beginning. Former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, a presidential candidate with minimal support, faced jeers and boos when he suggested that Trump might face legal consequences.

Even former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, known for his opposition to Trump, was met with hostility. On the other hand, Florida Sen. Rick Scott, who recently endorsed Trump, received overwhelming applause for his support.

Read: GOP Candidates Who Bashed Trump Faced Hostile Audience In Florida

The speaking schedule itself seemed to favor Trump, with DeSantis receiving a mid-afternoon slot while Trump took center stage as the keynote speaker.

DeSantis’ Battle for Relevance

Despite the overwhelming presence of Trump at the event, DeSantis’ campaign managed to fill the room with supporters for his speech.

However, it was clear that the day belonged to Trump, leaving the perception that DeSantis is struggling to compete.

Public polling consistently places Trump in the lead, with DeSantis and former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley vying for second place.

Trump’s Attacks on DeSantis

The fact that Trump’s team continues to attack DeSantis is seen by many as evidence that he is a genuine threat to Trump’s campaign.

DeSantis himself highlighted this, suggesting that Trump’s supporters are not targeting Haley but instead focusing their efforts on undermining him.

The morning before the event, Trump’s campaign announced that several members of the Florida Legislature, who had previously endorsed DeSantis, were now supporting Trump.

While this political maneuver was expected, it dealt a blow to DeSantis, who had enjoyed complete control of the state’s Republican infrastructure since taking office.

Read: Gov. DeSantis Responds To Florida Senator Rick Scott’s Endorsement Of Trump

The Fluidity of Endorsements

DeSantis acknowledges that endorsement flips are a common occurrence in politics. He points out that while some legislators have switched their support to Trump, his campaign has received endorsements from state legislators in other parts of the country.

DeSantis believes that when evaluating the bigger picture across the country, his campaign has garnered more support from state legislators than any other candidate. Despite the challenges he faces, DeSantis remains focused on his campaign, confident in his ability to overcome obstacles and make a strong showing in crucial states like Iowa and New Hampshire.

The Battle for Second Place

As DeSantis and Haley vie for second place in the public polling, Trump continues to dominate the Republican presidential primary. His hour-long speech at the Freedom Summit further solidified his position as the frontrunner.

Trump emphasized that he is right about everything, eliciting massive applause from the audience. The perception that the primary race is all but over only adds to the challenges faced by DeSantis and other candidates who are struggling to break through.

Android Users, Click To Download The Free Press App And Never Miss A Story. Follow Us On Facebook and Twitter. Signup for our free newsletter. 

We can’t do this without your help; visit our GiveSendGo page and donate any dollar amount; every penny helps

Login To Facebook To Comment