To encourage his fellow Republican House members to consider candidates other than former President Donald Trump for the 2024 GOP nomination, Rep. Chip Roy of Texas, an outspoken member of the extreme right-wing House Freedom Caucus, preemptively endorsed Florida Governor Ron DeSantis on Wednesday.
The governor has been courting conservative politicians in preparation for a formal announcement anticipated after the conclusion of the state legislative session in May.
This public endorsement from a member of Congress appears to be DeSantis’ first from a member of Congress.
Roy wrote in an email sent from his campaign that the party needs “a new generation of leadership” at the helm, and he argued that DeSantis has “proven his ability to win at the ballot box time and time again.”
The comments were implicit knocks on the 76-year-old Trump, who lost his reelection bid in 2020 and was blamed for an unexpectedly poor showing by Republican candidates in last year’s midterms.
“Governor DeSantis offered a bright outlook for the future with smart, conservative action at a time when other Republicans were struggling in crucial contests. Republican performance across the state was unprecedented and sweeping, Roy wrote.
Roy clarified that he would back the eventual Republican nominee even if DeSantis isn’t the one.
According to Roy, America has been created and characterized by the sacrifices made by one generation for the following. “I believe it’s time for a new generation of leadership when Republicans choose our 2024 presidential contender, whom I intend to support against Joe Biden or any other Democratic candidate.
It’s time for younger, more experienced leadership to provide America with eight solid years of dramatic change.
His support for DeSantis may give other members of Congress the confidence to oppose Trump by endorsing DeSantis.
More than two dozen members of the House have already supported Trump for reelection, including Rep. Elise Stefanik of New York, the third-ranking Republican in the chamber.
Roy joined other guests at DeSantis’ weekend retreat last month, including Sens. Tom Cotton of Arkansas, Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, Mike Lee of Utah, and Thomas Massie of Kentucky.
Roy and the former president had had disagreements in the past, and Roy voted to certify the outcomes of the 2020 election, which Trump had erroneously claimed was stolen from him by voter fraud.
The politician has been a member of the House since 2019 and has established himself as a brash member of the Freedom Caucus.
He played a significant role in opposing House Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s election as leader earlier this year.
The endorsement occurred on the same day that MAGA, Inc., a Trump-supporting super PAC, filed an ethics complaint against DeSantis in Florida, charging him with breaking the law regarding campaign financing and ethics by making a covert bid for the presidency.
As “frivolous and politically motivated,” a DeSantis official dismissed the allegation.