Even in the home state of former presidential aspirants Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio, few Republican leaders in 2016 were more vocal in their criticism of Donald Trump than Richard Corcoran, the Florida House Speaker.
"What birthed the phenomenon of a candidate who in all definition of the word is running a quasi-repugnant campaign that is baseless? You have a candidate who has flip flopped on every issue," the Land O'Lakes Republican told a Florida Chamber of Commerce gathering in January, 2016..
"I ask people why are you supporting Donald Trump? You tell me whatever issue it is and I'll send you an issue of Donald Trump on the complete other side of that issue.," said Corcoran, who supported Jeb Bush, then Marco Rubio, and finally Ted Cruz before Trump won the nomination. " You have a guy who has offended every other possible group known to mankind. He's insulted and offended women, Mexicans, Jewish people, disabled people, people in middle America. I don't know who he hasn't offended and somehow that's okay?"
And today? The likely candidate for governor adores President Trump. Trump and Steve Bannon are his kinds of Republicans, Corcoran told The Buzz this week.
"He's doing fantastic," he gushed.
Corcoran said he had been skeptical of Trump's conservative because the New York developer had been on all sides of so many important issues from taxes to health care. But Trump, starting with his selection if Vice President Mike Pence, has proven himself to be an excellent, conservative leader.
"Then he gets elected. He chooses what I think is one of the best Cabinets ever chosen by any president, conservative president. I think you'd be hard-pressed to find a better one," said Corcoran, who is savvy enough to know that one does not win a primary in today's GOP by criticizing a the president he used to call repugnant.
"When you put in transformational, game-changing principled conservatives in education, environmental protection…I think that foreign policy-wise, I think he's the first person to put Kim Jong-Un in place. I don't think it's destabilized the world. I think it's stabilizing the world in the long term. Yeah, there's always gonna be short-term difficulties in order to achieve long-term stability in situations like that. I think this tax reform plan was excellent. I think moving forward in repealing and replacing Obamacare was excellent. I think his Supreme Court justice is the best pick I've seen since Antonin Scalia. You could go on and on. The question I would say to people is what so far are you disappointed on?"
And Trump's defense of the white supremacists who marched in Charlottesville?
"He spoke well on Charlottesville," Corcoran said, noting that leaders in Trump's administration, particularly Pence and Attorney General Jeff Sessions, did condemn he marchers.
"The Trump administration spoke out vociferously, plainly, about the ugliness, the reprehensible behavior and actions that took place in Charlottesville, and he doesn't get the credit for it."
Corcoran said Roy Moore, the Alabama Senate nominee accused of also had nothing but positive things to say about Breitbart publisher Steve Bannon, Trump's controversial ally and adviser.
"He is right about waging war on an inactive, incapable of getting something accomplished and deceitful legislators who campaign one way and govern another," Corcoran said of Bannon. "I'm with him in that fight altogether. And I've said the exact same things in the state of Florida and I've put my money where my mouth is."