PEMBROKE PARK, Fla. – President Donald Trump praised Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis while exulting in his impeachment acquittal Thursday, calling the former congressman “another great warrior” and touting his endorsement as the catalyst for DeSantis taking up residence in the governor’s mansion.
“He called me, he said, ‘Sir, I’d like to run for governor,’” Trump recalled during an odd segue in his nationally televised speech at the White House. “I said, ‘Governor? I don’t want you to run. I’d like you to stay.’”
Trump said DeSantis was adamant about running in 2018 and asked for his support.
“I said, ‘How can I support you? You’re at three (percent in the polls),’” Trump recalled. “He was at three. He had no money. Somebody else was at 38 and they had $22 million cash.”
Nevertheless, Trump pledged his support for DeSantis, calling him “another great warrior.”
But the president couldn’t resist an opportunity to praise himself during DeSantis’ gubernatorial run.
“By the way, he ran,” Trump said of DeSantis. “I endorsed him. His numbers went through the roof.”
Trump also claimed DeSantis' Republican opponent, Adam Putnam, called him after the primary election, although he didn't mention him by name.
“The man who he beat who was expected to win easily called me after the race,” Trump continued. “He said, ‘You endorsed him and it was like a nuclear bomb went off. There was nothing I could do.’ He never even spent his money. He saved it.”
DeSantis went on to defeat Democratic nominee Andrew Gillum in the general election.
Trump concluded his thoughts on DeSantis by calling him a “great governor.”
“He’s a very popular governor,” Trump said. “His (polling) numbers are in the 70s, and he’s done a great job.”