Watch CBS News

Rep. Chip Roy endorses Ron DeSantis for president, though DeSantis is not yet running

DeSantis makes first Iowa visit ahead of 2024
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis one of many potential 2024 candidates to visit Iowa 05:58

GOP Rep. Chip Roy, of Texas, has endorsed Florida Governor Ron DeSantis for the 2024 presidential race, even though DeSantis has not yet announced he's running. 

Roy sent out a fundraising email Wednesday noting his early support for DeSantis and wrote that when Republicans choose their nominee, "it's time for younger, but proven, leadership to offer America eight solid years of transformational change."

"It's time for Ron DeSantis to be President of the United States," wrote Roy. He praised DeSantis' rejection of COVID vaccine mandates in Florida, his plane flight of migrants from Texas to Martha's Vineyard and the substantial election victories scored by DeSantis and Florida Republicans in the midterm elections last year. 

While DeSantis is not in the 2024 presidential race yet, he has started to build his political infrastructure. And in recent weeks he's also traveled to promote his new book and his "Freedom Blueprint" in Iowa and Nevada, two early presidential primary states. He's also scheduled to headline a Republican Party dinner in New Hampshire in April. 

Roy is the first Republican member of Congress to officially support a DeSantis candidacy. Rep. Ralph Norman of South Carolina has backed his own state's former governor, Nikki Haley, in her presidential bid and multiple congressional Republicans have already lined behind former President Donald Trump. 

But Roy's support and email comes as DeSantis' stance on the Russian invasion of Ukraine has come under some criticism by congressional Republicans. In answers to a questionnaire from Fox News, DeSantis said Monday night he doesn't believe U.S. support for Ukraine is a "vital" national interest and referred to the war as a "territorial dispute."

Senator Marco Rubio of Florida disagreed with DeSantis' characterization of the war in a Tuesday interview with Hugh Hewitt. 

Trump also criticized DeSantis' latest comments late Monday night, and told reporters traveling with him after an event in Iowa that the Florida governor is "following what I am saying. It is a flip-flop. He was totally different. Whatever I want, he wants."

Haley, a former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations during the Trump administration, agreed with the former president that DeSantis is "copying" Trump's position on Ukraine. 

Roy, unlike many of his GOP colleagues in Congress, expressed support for DeSantis' position in his email and wrote that DeSantis recognizes "a military is best" when it is "not mired in endless, protracted military engagements all around the globe."

Roy is part of the hardline "Freedom Caucus" in the House, which DeSantis helped create in 2015 as a member of Congress and which is usually a bloc of Trump allies in Congress. Roy wrote he plans to support the GOP presidential nominee, whoever that may be, in the general election.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.