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Changing the stance on the former president pays off: Trump teases big political plans for Florida Representative during New York event


Florida – One of the most ardent supporters of the MAGA movement, Florida Rep. Byron Donalds, has garnered recognition for his unwavering support of former President Donald Trump. From refusing to commit to certifying election results that do not favor Trump to defending him when the former president was criticized for his controversial claims made during an event in South Carolina, the Republican from Florida has undoubtedly shown his unwavering loyalty to the former president. But Donalds wasn’t always “sticking by Trump’s side.”

Changing the stance on the former president pays off Trump teases big political plans for Florida Representative during New York event

Past Criticism of Trump

The Florida representative’s current alignment with Trump contrasts sharply with his previous criticism of the former president. In comments dating back to 2011 and 2012, Donalds expressed his disdain for Trump’s focus on himself over the country.

“‘Trump is a huge distraction, and cares more about himself than the country in my opinion, but I could care less about him,’” Donalds stated this in a 2011 Facebook post, criticizing Trump’s claims about Obama’s birth certificate. He also dismissed Trump’s questioning of Obama’s religion and citizenship, drawing parallels to the conspiracy theories surrounding George W. Bush and the 9/11 attacks.

Being Trump Ally Pays Off

However, changing the stance on Trump appears to have ultimately paid off for the Florida Representative. At a recent fundraising event in New York City, former President Donald Trump hinted at new political aspirations for Rep. Byron Donalds (R-FL), a rising star within the Republican Party. While Donalds has been mentioned as a potential vice-presidential candidate, Trump’s conversation suggests a different path might be in the works for the Florida representative.

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Governorship Over Vice Presidency?

During the event, which Donalds attended on Tuesday, Trump asked him about considering a run for the governor of Florida in 2026, following the end of Ron DeSantis’ second term. According to NBC News, Trump’s question reflects a strategic shift, positioning Donalds as a key political player in Florida rather than a running mate for the upcoming presidential election. Donalds reportedly acknowledged that he has been encouraged to pursue the governorship, and Trump indicated that an endorsement could be forthcoming if Donalds decides to run, telling him “he will have many friends in the race.”

This development is particularly noteworthy as it suggests Donalds may not be at the top of Trump’s vice-presidential shortlist, despite his close ties with the former president. Donalds has demonstrated strong loyalty to Trump, supporting him well before his own governor, Ron DeSantis, exited the presidential race in January. He was also present at a high-profile event in New York City, attending Trump’s hush-money trial in a front-row seat, underscoring his prominence within Trump’s inner circle.

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The Broader VP Landscape and Florida’s Political Future

The vice-presidential stakes are high with several notable Republicans rumored to be under consideration. North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum, entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy, and Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Tim Scott (R-SC) are also speculated to be in contention. South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem, another potential candidate, has seemingly fallen out of favor following a controversial autobiography that damaged her standing.

As for the Florida governorship, the race appears to be gathering a diverse group of potential candidates. Besides Donalds, Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) and Rep. Michael Waltz (R-FL) have shown interest in the position. Additionally, Wilton Simpson, Florida’s Republican agriculture commissioner and former Senate president, has been moving up within the state’s GOP ranks and endorsed Trump shortly after DeSantis withdrew from the presidential race.

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Florida’s Political Landscape

The political landscape in Florida has shifted significantly to the right since the COVID-19 pandemic, solidifying its status as a stronghold for the GOP. Trump and DeSantis have both secured notable victories in the state in recent elections. However, Democrats have come close to winning the governor’s office, notably in 2018 with Andrew Gillum. Looking ahead, Rep. Jared Moskowitz (D-FL) has hinted at a possible challenge for the governorship, signaling that the race could be competitive.

As 2026 approaches, all eyes will be on Donalds and other potential candidates as they navigate the complexities of Florida’s evolving political scene. With Trump’s backing potentially in play, the dynamics of the gubernatorial race may well be influenced by national politics and the former president’s continuing impact on the GOP.

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