VIDEO: DeSantis Gets His First Gubernatorial Endorsement From Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt

Republican presidential candidate and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis earned his first gubernatorial endorsement Saturday from Oklahoma GOP Gov. Kevin Stitt.

Sunday, June 11th 2023, 4:44 pm

By: CBS News


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Republican presidential candidate and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis earned his first gubernatorial endorsement Saturday from Oklahoma GOP Gov. Kevin Stitt.

Ahead of DeSantis' remarks in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Stitt said DeSantis is "the right guy to beat Biden for the next eight years."

Related Story: Ron DeSantis Receives Endorsement From Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt At Tulsa 'Never Back Down' Rally

Stitt highlighted DeSantis' handling of the Covid-19 pandemic and argued that his tenure as Florida's governor proves his leadership capacity.

"As fellow Governors during COVID, DeSantis did not surrender states' rights and individual liberties over to groupthink," Stitt said in a statement. Both governors passed similar measures to ban mask mandates in their states.

"As a proven leader, DeSantis has boldly delivered results for the people of Florida that laid the groundwork for a booming economy, an education system focused on student outcomes, and better infrastructure for working families," Stitt continued. He added that he is confident that DeSantis can "deliver these same results all across America."

Stitt is among DeSantis' highest-profile endorsements to date. With many Republicans backing former President Donald Trump, DeSantis has earned the support of four GOP members of Congress thus far: Reps. Bob Good of Virginia, Laurel Lee of Florida, Thomas Massie of Kentucky and Chip Roy of Texas, who is one of the hardline members of the party.

DeSantis finished out his day in Oklahoma at the Ponca City Rodeo for Military Appreciation Night with his wife Casey, their three children and Stitt. Briefly addressing the audience as the rodeo began, DeSantis said he appreciated Oklahoma and what the state shares with Florida.

Related Story: Gov. Stitt Endorses Ron DeSantis For 2024 Presidency

"We trust in God. We support our police. We support the military. We stand for Second Amendment rights. We stand for strong borders," DeSantis said. "We know we need to make sure that that goes coast to coast in this country, and that's what we're going to do."

Stitt's endorsement comes as the GOP presidential field has widened with former Vice President Mike Pence and former New Jersey Republican Gov. Chris Christie announcing their bids earlier this week. Trump, however, remains the front runner despite his legal troubles.

A CNN poll last month showed that the former president has consolidated the support of slightly above half of his party at this early stage of the race — nearly double the support for DeSantis.

DeSantis did not answer reporter questions at the Tulsa event or at the rodeo about the federal indictment against Trump. However, speaking with reporters, Stitt condemned the indictment as a "political tool."

At the same time, Stitt said his endorsement of DeSantis is "nothing against Trump," but it's "time to turn the page."

"President Trump did a great job when he was in office, and I voted for him in 2016 and voted for him in 2020 and supported him," Stitt said. "We need a president that can be there for eight years. I really believe that."

"We need somebody that can be beat Joe Biden, and I think Ron DeSantis is the guy. It's nothing against President Trump. He did a great job while he was in office, and I was super supportive. But you know what, I think it's time to turn the page, and I just really liked what Ron's doing and what he did in Florida, and I think we have an example of what he can do for the country," Stitt added.

While he gives his full-throated support to DeSantis, Stitt said he will ultimately back whoever earns the Republican nomination.

"Obviously, whoever comes out of the Republican side, I'm gonna be supportive, but this is a time when we get a chance to have a debate about ideas," Stitt said.

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