President Trump gave hearty endorsements to Florida Gov. Rick Scott and U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis on Tuesday as two of the state’s top Republican elected officials seek higher office in November’s midterm elections, Fox News informed.
“I don’t do these endorsements easily,” Trump told an enthusiastic crowd during his rally at Tampa’s Florida State Fairgrounds. “I don’t need to be here, but I happen to love this state.”
Trump touted the congressman as “a true leader”, “a proud veteran”, “my great friend” and predicted: “he’s going to be your next governor.”
“I appreciate your support, Mr. President,” DeSantis said after Trump called him up on stage. “But I appreciate more the leadership you’re showing for our great country.”
Trump also implored supporters to back Scott against Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson, who he said was “[Chuck] Schumer-controlled, [and] Nancy Pelosi-controlled,” referring to the Senate and House Democratic leaders.
“You know, I live a lot of time in Florida,” Trump said. “The only time I see Bill Nelson is five months before every election. And after a while, you forget: ‘Who’s the senator?’ But around five months, you see him at parties and you see him around … We have to make sure that Rick Scott wins and wins big.”
The speech was notable for Trump’s emphatic call to implement stricter voter ID requirements in apparent response to some cities giving illegal immigrants the right to vote in certain elections.
“Only American citizens should vote in American elections,” Trump said. “Which is why the time has come for voter ID, like everything else.”
“You know, if you go out and you want to buy groceries, you need a picture on a card,” Trump claimed. “You go out and you want to buy anything, you need ID and you need your picture. In this country, the only time you don’t need it, in many cases, is when you want to vote for a president, when you want to vote for a senator, when you want to vote for a governor or a congressman. It’s crazy.”
Trump also publicly pondered the idea of talking to Iran’s leaders, one day after saying he’d meet them without preconditions.
“I hope it works out well with Iran. They’re having a lot of difficulty right now,” he said in an aside. “I hope it works out well. And I have a feeling they’ll be talking to us pretty soon. And maybe not, and that’s OK, too.”
The Florida gubernatorial contest is the latest GOP primary into which Trump has injected himself, having previously helped candidates in Georgia, Alabama and South Carolina with endorsements that have helped set the stage for the fall elections.