U.S. Sen. Rick Scott endorsed former President Donald Trump on Thursday for the GOP’s 2024 presidential nod, coming out against his home state governor, Ron DeSantis, and reversing his personal policy of not picking sides in Florida Republican primary fights.
In an op-ed published in Newsweek, Scott explained that although he respected the field of Republicans vying for the party’s presidential nomination, GOP voters have made it increasingly clear that “they want to return to the leadership of Donald Trump.”
He called on Republicans to coalesce around the former president’s bid in preparation to take on President Joe Biden next year.
“It’s time for the Republican Party to come together, behind one candidate, and declare with one voice that we are united in our efforts to defeat Joe Biden and rescue America,” Scott wrote.
The endorsement comes just two days before Trump and DeSantis are expected to speak at the Florida Republican Party’s Freedom Summit in Kissimmee, an event that will kick off a whirlwind week in the Sunshine State. The third Republican presidential debate will take place next Wednesday in Miami, while Trump will hold a competing rally the same evening in Hialeah and then host Florida Republican Party members the following evening at his Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach.
Scott’s decision to come out in support of Trump also marks a shift for Florida’s junior U.S. senator, who notably avoided taking a side ahead of Florida’s 2016 Republican presidential primary, back when he was governor and both Trump and U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio were on the ballot.
Scott is the latest in a growing list of Florida Republicans who have come out in support of Trump’s 2024 comeback campaign. More than half of the state’s Republican congressional delegation has already endorsed the former president, and just last week, state Rep. Randy Fine announced that he would switch his support from DeSantis to Trump.
In some ways, Scott’s decision is a reflection of the political realities of the moment. Trump is leading DeSantis and his other Republican rivals by wide, double-digit margins, both in Florida and nationally. Many Republicans see the former president’s renomination an inevitability at this point.
In contrast, Scott and Trump have carried on a longstanding friendship and political alliance.