President Donald Trump announced Friday morning that he is endorsing U.S. Rep. and Fort Walton Beach resident Matt Gaetz for reelection to Congress.
“Congressman Matt Gaetz of Florida is one of the finest and most talented people in Congress. Strong on crime, the border, illegal immigration, the 2nd Amendment, our great military and veterans,” Trump said in announcing the endorsement. “Matt worked tirelessly on helping to get our massive tax cuts. He has my full endorsement.”
Gaetz, who is completing his first term in Congress, is opposed this year in the Republican Party primary by Cris Dosev, a businessman and Marine with over 30 battle missions as a bombardier/navigator. Dosev opposed Gaetz in 2016 and finished third in the Republican primary that year.
Two Democratic candidates have also qualified to battle Gaetz for Florida's First Congressional District seat.
“I am deeply honored to receive President Trump’s endorsement today, and am thrilled to have the opportunity to continue working alongside him. Since November 2016, the President has been working to make America great again, and I have gladly joined him in his efforts to drain the swamp, lower taxes, and expose the deep-seated corruption hidden in the centralized bureaucracy of Washington,” Gaetz said.
Gaetz said Trump’s support “has given me a renewed sense of confidence and vigor to continue my fight for the hard-working men and women of Northwest Florida.”
The endorsement does not come as a surprise. Gaetz has been one of Trump’s biggest congressional backers and has made a name for himself as a freshman legislator through frequent television appearances in which he consistently supports the often controversial president.
Trump has referred to Gaetz as an “absolute warrior” and the two have made campaign stops together in Pensacola more than once. Trump's son, Donald Trump Jr., is scheduled to campaign with Gaetz Aug. 2 at a rally at the Northwest Florida State College arena.