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Surprise! Donald Trump to headline Florida Republican Party event in December, Ron DeSantis says

The rescheduled fundraiser will be held Dec. 7.
President Donald Trump greets U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis during a rally at the Florida State Fairgrounds in Tampa on Tuesday. Trump boosted DeSantis' political fortunes in the Republican gubernatorial race. [JAMES BORCHUCK  |  Times]
President Donald Trump greets U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis during a rally at the Florida State Fairgrounds in Tampa on Tuesday. Trump boosted DeSantis' political fortunes in the Republican gubernatorial race. [JAMES BORCHUCK | Times]
Published Oct. 29, 2019

A day after the Republican Party of Florida announced it was postponing its biggest fundraiser of the year, Gov. Ron DeSantis on Tuesday said the event is back on and will have a special headliner: President Donald Trump.

The party’s annual Statesman dinner, previously scheduled for Nov. 9, was cancelled amid rumors of strife within the state GOP and concerns over lack of donors and sponsorships. But DeSantis’ surprise announcement that the biggest name in American politics will now speak should appease those worries and perhaps alleviate some of the tension, too.

“America’s best governor, our favorite president and a roof full of RPOF warriors,” the state party chairman Sen. Joe Gruters tweeted. “It’s going to be one hell of a night.”

The dinner will be held on Dec. 7. A spokeswoman for the governor said the Republican personally asked Trump to come down to Florida for the fundraiser.

DeSantis caught even his own party members off guard when he made the news, which came at the end of a presentation on his 2020 legislative priorities. He then exited the room without answering any questions about it.

“That was an announcement of first impression for me as well,” Senate President Bill Galvano said. “It sounds like it should be a robust fundraising dinner.”