Musk says he will support DeSantis if the Florida governor runs for president

WASHINGTON, Nov 25 (Reuters) – Billionaire Elon Musk said on Friday he would endorse Ron DeSantis in 2024 if the Florida governor, who recently advanced to a second term, were to run for president.

DeSantis earlier this month defeated Democratic challenger Charlie Crist by nearly 20 percentage points to be re-elected as Florida governor, cementing himself as the Republican Party’s top rising star.

Political pundits have given high marks to DeSantis, who is seen as a potential challenger to former President Donald Trump in the 2024 field of Republican presidential candidates. Trump announced 10 days ago that he was running for re-election in 2024.

“My preference for the 2024 presidency is a sane and centered person. I had hoped that would be the case for the Biden administration, but have been disappointed so far,” Musk said on Twitter.

“Yes,” he replied in a tweet when asked if he would endorse DeSantis in 2024.

“As a reminder, I was a significant supporter of the Obama-Biden presidency and (reluctantly) voted for Biden over Trump,” the Twitter owner said.

Musk previously said in June that he is leaning toward supporting DeSantis for president in 2024, adding that the Florida governor would easily defeat Biden in the election.

When asked about Musk’s support at the time, DeSantis joked, “I welcome the support of African-Americans, what can I say.” Musk, who is white, grew up in South Africa.

DeSantis is especially popular among conservatives for taking the lead on culture war issues of race and gender. His governorship has been marked by his rejection of pandemic-related health restrictions, passage of a law restricting discussion of LGBTQ issues in schools and a feud with Walt Disney ( DIS.N ) over the law.

Musk urged Americans to elect a Republican Congress in the US midterm elections earlier this month to counter Biden’s Democrats. Defying Republican hopes for a “red wave” in the midterms, however, Democrats retained control of the Senate, while Republicans won only a narrow majority in the House of Representatives.

Reporting by Kanishka Singh in Washington; Editing by Kim Coghill

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