Trump Stumps for Republicans in Tampa, Formally Endorses DeSantis for Governor

August 1, 2018 Last Updated: August 2, 2018

TAMPA, Fla.—President Donald Trump spent almost an hour touting his record and urging support for Republicans Rep. Ron DeSantis and Gov. Rick Scott in upcoming primary elections, during a boisterous rally on July 31.

Trump formally endorsed gubernatorial candidate DeSantis and invited him to the microphone.

“I appreciate your support, Mr. President, but I appreciate more the leadership you’re showing for our great country,” DeSantis said.

DeSantis spoke against sanctuary cities, Common Core education standards, and judicial activism, while saying Florida is going in the right direction economically, if it continues to follow “conservative principles.”

DeSantis is running for governor to replace Scott, who, in turn, is hoping to win the Republican primary and run for Senate against incumbent Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.).

Gubernatorial candidate Rep. Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.) speaks at President Donald Trump’s Make America Great Again rally in Tampa, Fla., on July 31, 2018. (Charlotte Cuthbertson/The Epoch Times)

Trump hit his usual notes during the rally: robust economic growth, bad trade deals, veterans, media, North Korea, and immigration.

“We want maximum border security and respect for our heroes—ICE, Border Patrol, and law enforcement,” he said. Trump has threatened three times on Twitter on the past few days that he is willing to allow a government shutdown over border security.

On July 29, he wrote on Twitter, “I would be willing to ‘shut down’ government if the Democrats do not give us the votes for Border Security, which includes the Wall!”

At the rally, Trump also said: “The time has come for Voter ID.”

“We believe that only American citizens should vote in American elections,” he said.

The audience cheers at President Donald Trump’s Make America Great Again rally in Tampa, Fla., on July 31, 2018. (Charlotte Cuthbertson/The Epoch Times)

He reiterated his “America first” policy, especially regarding trade.

“Now, after rebuilding foreign countries, it’s time to finally rebuild our country. We’ve helped rebuild China—we can’t do that anymore,” he said. “The days of plundering American jobs and American wealth, those days are over.”

It didn’t take much prompting for the crowd to break out in familiar chants: “USA, USA” or “Build the Wall.”

Early during Trump’s speech, several protesters were swiftly removed, and throughout, CNN garnered a lot of attention from the audience, who expressed their unhappiness with the cable network.

Correction: A previous version of this article incorrectly identified Rep. Ron DeSantis in a photo caption. The Epoch Times regrets the error.