U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis picked up a significant endorsement for governor this week via Twitter after thanking President Donald Trump for signing tax reform legislation.
"Congressman Ron DeSantis is a brilliant young leader, Yale and then Harvard Law, who would make a GREAT Governor of Florida," Trump tweeted Friday. "He loves our Country and is a true FIGHTER!"
The gubernatorial endorsement from Trump may not come as a surprise though, as DeSantis has been a strong supporter of the president's recent activity. Earlier this week, DeSantis introduced legislation backing Trump's unilateral decision -- despite the United Nation's reproach -- to officially recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
"Thank you for signing the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, President Trump - #TaxReform is now law! This is a BIG win for American families," DeSantis tweeted Friday morning, prior to the endorsement.
The three-term Republican representative from Florida's 6th congressional district is up for re-election in 2018, but over the past eight months, DeSantis has had to dodge numerous questions about a potential run for the top position in the state.
While the announcement is expected, the congressman has yet to say whether he'll be entering the gubernatorial race to succeed Gov. Rick Scott.
The Ron DeSantis for Florida campaign, despite being active on social media, has been very tight-lipped on the matter of campaigning, brushing off most requests for answers as to what the congressman plans to do in 2018. In October, his camp told First Coast News there was no timeline in place for when DeSantis will announce his intentions.
With term limits not being a factor in his decision, DeSantis may very well attempt to extend his tenure in a congressional district that's been held by a Republican for the past 17 years. Trump, however, may have just inadvertently revealed DeSantis' true intentions.
DeSantis skillfully side-stepped the president's endorsement Friday by offering somewhat of an ambiguous and selfless comment in return.
“I'm grateful to have the President's support and appreciate what he has done — from appointing great judges to recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's capital to signing a pro-growth tax cut — to get our country back on track," DeSantis said. "As an Iraq veteran, I'm especially appreciative of his efforts to support our military and our veterans. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!”
Two weeks ago, DeSantis traveled with the president to Pensacola, Fla. where he spoke at a "Make America Great Again" rally. DeSantis opened for Trump that night by touting the president's achievements before taking office and his efforts to deliver on campaign promises ever since.
Before turning over the microphone, DeSantis briefly spoke about term limits and draining the proverbial swamp, two things Trump promised to accomplish before getting elected.
"As we go forward, after we get this tax bill done, we need to work with the president to drain the swamp in Washington," DeSantis said. "And the best way to do that, is to take what he endorsed in his campaign and what I'm a big proponent of and we need to enact term limits for members of Congress."
In January, DeSantis introduced legislation that would effectively limit the number of terms members of Congress may serve. If signed into law, the bill would prohibit representatives from serving more than three terms.
Written into the legislation, however, is a loophole that would exempt prior terms from being a determining factor in the election of congressional leaders, therefore clearing a path to a fourth consecutive term for DeSantis.
DeSantis' camp had little to offer when asked about the term limit comments he made at the Trump rally and if they reflected what his true intentions were for 2018.
"While Congressman DeSantis hasn't made a final decision about running for re-election, he has been a strong supporter of term limits since before he ran for Congress," said campaign spokesperson Brad Herold. "...He believes politicians shouldn't be able make a career out of elected office and should have to go back home and live under the same laws as everyone else."
Whether DeSantis will be returning home in 2019 to live under the same laws as other Floridians remains to be seen, but the endorsement from Trump should stoke the fire in his camp and force a more clear answer to the ongoing question, possibly after the holidays.