President Donald Trump has become more than a part-time Florida man since taking office.
At least that’s Gov. Ron DeSantis’ take, as Trump prepares to formally announce his re-election campaign next week at Orlando’s Amway Center.
“The reason they’re in Florida is because, really if you look at it, since he’s taken office, Florida really has been his home,” DeSantis said Tuesday while in The Villages “He’s not spent any time in New York City. Palm Beach has kind of been the place. Orlando is just at the center of so much going on in our state.”
Since taking office, Trump has made 33 trips to Florida, spending 99 nights at his Palm Beach resort Mar-a-Lago, according to NBC News and The New York Times. Trips to Florida have included visits to areas hit by Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Michael, 2018 midterm election rallies in Tampa, Fort Myers and Pensacola and a May 8 rally in Panama City Beach.
DeSantis said Trump has been receptive to suggestions about boosting federal funding for Everglades restoration and hurricane response, including vows to repair Tyndall Air Force Base, and about working with the state to allow Floridians to have access to lower-priced prescription drugs from Canada.
“I think he understands Florida issues more than other Presidents who didn’t have as much of a relationship with Florida,” DeSantis said.
Trump’s Florida trips are topped only by 66 excursions to Virginia, where he’s mostly traveled to Trump National Golf Club in Sterling, near Washington, D.C.
His third most-visited state, with 18 trips, is New Jersey, home of Trump National Golf Resort in Bedminster.
The importance of Florida on the 2020 presidential election isn’t lost on either party.
As DeSantis praised Trump for his attention to the Sunshine State, the Florida Democratic Party announced plans for 90 new paid organizers who will spread across the state “reminding voters what is at stake in 2020 and laying the groundwork to defeat Donald Trump in Florida.”
Trump opponents also plan a rally, called the “Win With Love Rally,” on Tuesday near the Amway Center.
Meanwhile, Trump is predicting a big crowd for his campaign kickoff, tweeting Wednesday, “Wow! Just got word that our June 18th, Tuesday, ANNOUNCEMENT in Orlando, Florida, already has 74,000 requests for a 20,000 seat Arena.”
DeSantis, who will attend the campaign rally, said he suggested the event be held inside.