Proposal Scrapped to Pay Trump Legal Fees After DeSantis Signals Veto
A Florida bill aimed at paying former President Donald Trump’s legal fees has been withdrawn after Governor Ron DeSantis signaled Monday night that he would veto the proposal.
The bill, first introduced on Jan. 5, would have set aside $5 million in state funding for the Florida Freedom Fighters Fund to help presidential candidates from Florida who are “subject to political discrimination.” If passed, the proposal would have made candidates facing prosecution from a “U.S. public entity” eligible for assistance through the Department of Financial Services.
“Funds from the Defending Freedom Fighters Trust Fund created under s. 17.69 must be used to provide grants to qualified persons subject to political discrimination to pay for legal fees incurred as a result of criminal charges brought by a U.S. public entity as defined in 31 U.S.C.”
The bill was filed by Sen. Ileana Garcia (R-Miami). While Trump was not named in the bill text, Garcia cited the former President’s ongoing legal battles in a statement unveiling the plan,
“Having a Floridian in the White House is good for our state – and anything we can do to support Florida Presidential candidates, like President Trump, will not only benefit our state, but our nation.”
But after a Politico report noted Monday that “some Florida Republicans” supported the bill, the Governor responded, “But not the Florida Republican who wields the veto pen…”
This bill was filed on January 5th amidst a crowded primary, including two Florida residents.
My concern was the political weaponization against conservative candidates, and while @JimmyPatronis brought me this bill at a time when all candidates were committing to campaign… https://t.co/wieqYQ8Woq
— Ileana Garcia (@IleanaGarciaUSA) January 23, 2024
Shortly after the Governor’s statement, Garcia announced that she withdrew the proposal.
“This bill was filed on January 5th amidst a crowded primary, including two Florida residents.
My concern was the political weaponization against conservative candidates, and while [CFO Jimmy Patronis] brought me this bill at a time when all candidates were committing to campaign through the primary, one frontrunner now remains, and he can handle himself. I will be withdrawing the bill. SB 1740.”
The measure had been championed just hours before by Florida CFO Jimmy Patronis, who called it “just good from a dollars and cents perspective.”
“We’ve got a Florida Man – Donald Trump – running for President, and he’s facing ongoing legal challenges from Democrats in New York, Washington DC, and Atlanta. The Left is really good at weaponizing the courts, and because President Biden is so unpopular, they’re not just trying to beat Trump at the ballot box, they’re trying to throw him behind bars, which is outrageous.”
The move by Governor DeSantis comes just one day after suspending his campaign for the White House. DeSantis subsequently endorsed Trump for President.
“He has my endorsement because we can’t go back to the old Republican guard of yesteryear, a repackaged form of warmed-over corporatism that Nikki Haley represents.” ~ Gov. Ron DeSantis
Trump currently faces 91 criminal charges across four separate cases–including two state courts and two federal districts. Despite his legal challenges, Trump leads Biden by 3 points in general election polling, according to RealClearPolitics.
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