Rep. Michael Waltz (R-FL) became the latest Florida Republican to endorse former President Donald Trump over Gov. Ron DeSantis in the 2024 GOP presidential primary on Thursday, issuing an exclusive statement to Breitbart News endorsing Trump.
Waltz’s team provided his statement endorsing Trump to Breitbart News exclusively ahead of its public release. In it, Waltz first explained that current Democrat President Joe Biden’s lack of leadership has been “disastrous” for the United States.
“These last two years under Joe Biden have been disastrous for our country,” Waltz said. “Inflation is rampant, our southern border is wide open, China is on the rise and embarrassing us on the global stage, the left have wasted trillions of dollars, and the Washington bureaucracy is worse than ever before. Biden’s devastating handling of the withdrawal from Afghanistan killed 13 of our brothers and sisters. Biden’s actions have not only weakened the U.S. but emboldened terrorists around the world who seek to strike back at America. We need experienced and proven leadership back in the White House.”
Then, Waltz explained that he is endorsing Trump for president in 2024—and he focused on national security issues and Trump’s successes in his first term in the White House as the reason why.
“Today I am proud to endorse Donald J. Trump for President,” Waltz said. “Under his leadership, President Trump secured our southern border, created seven million jobs with record-low unemployment, brought manufacturing back to the U.S., made America energy independent and affordable, brokered historic Middle East peace deals, destroyed the ISIS caliphate, launched the Space Force, took out Soleimani, gave veterans choice, and put measures in place to stop China’s march towards global dominance.”
Waltz’s endorsement is perhaps even more significant than any other House Republican in Florida given that he is the immediate successor in Florida’s sixth congressional district to DeSantis. When DeSantis stepped down from his congressional seat in September 2018 during his run for governor, the seat remained vacant until the next Congress. Waltz, who won the election, took over representing the sixth congressional district in Florida in January 2019. Waltz is currently in his third term in Congress, having won reelection in the subsequent two elections in 2020 and 2022.
Also interestingly Trump, in an exclusive interview with Breitbart News last week in Indianapolis, Indiana, after his speech to the National Rifle Association (NRA) annual gathering, endorsed a proposal from Waltz and Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-TX) to authorize the use of military force against the Mexican drug cartels. Waltz was pleased at Trump’s support for the idea, tweeting out a message thanking the former president for backing it:
— Rep. Mike Waltz (@michaelgwaltz) April 19, 2023
Waltz’s and Crenshaw’s AUMF proposal has shocked Mexico, whose president attacked the idea, but Trump’s support for the idea—and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy has also spoken favorably about using the military to target the cartels—makes it a distinct possibility that could happen should Trump and the GOP prevail in 2024.
“The many crises facing our country demands bold leadership like President Trump has demonstrated,” Waltz continued in his statement endorsing Trump. “Now more than ever we need him back in the White House to bring back U.S. leadership and credibility.”
In Trump’s interview with Breitbart News in Indianapolis, he also discussed the state of the race for the White House in 2024 and enjoyed his status per recent polling as the clear GOP frontrunner. Trump also discussed how the GOP is unifying behind him now, with a total of nine U.S. senators endorsing him and dozens of House Republicans, including many from Florida. Since that interview, many more in Florida have joined the cause and backed Trump.
“I think so. I think the party is very unified,” Trump said when asked if the party is unifying behind him. “I also think they’re looking at the polls now and they’re saying, ‘Wow, that’s impressive.’ But we’re leading by so much and they’re seeing that. I think people look back to those four years we had — we had an incredible four years, then we got hit by the COVID situation, the gift from China, which was a terrible, terrible thing to have to go through that. But we did a great job with it, rebuilt the economy, gave over a stock market that was higher than it was just pre-COVID — pretty amazing. People look back to the times of especially that first two and a half years prior to the COVID coming — the China virus as I call it because that’s what it was. There’s never been anything like it in the history of our country. We can do that again, and I think we can actually do it even better again.”
Waltz is the latest in a long line of U.S. House Republicans from Florida who have endorsed Trump in recent days. Reps. Matt Gaetz (R-FL), Anna Paulina Luna (R-FL), Byron Donalds (R-FL), Brian Mast (R-FL), Vern Buchanan (R-FL), Cory Mills (R-FL), John Rutherford (R-FL), and Greg Steube (R-FL) have all now endorsed Trump. Reps. Carlos Jimenez (R-FL) and Gus Bilirakis (R-FL) reportedly intend to soon. So all of them combined with Waltz means that at least 11 out of 20 Florida U.S. House Republicans have endorsed Trump over DeSantis in 2024. DeSantis, meanwhile, has only earned the endorsement of one U.S. House Republican in Florida, Rep. Laurel Lee (R-FL)—a freshman who was just elected this year after serving in DeSantis’s administration as Secretary of State. DeSantis also reportedly personally called many of these U.S. House Republicans from Florida asking them not to endorse Trump—but instead to just wait for now—and he clearly failed in that regard with many of them.