DeSantis threatens to use veto Florida legislation that would use taxpayer money for Trump’s legal bills

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis let it be known Monday that he won’t support legislation in the Sunshine State that would put taxpayers on the hook for former President Donald Trump’s legal bills. 

In response to a Politico report noting that “some Florida Republicans” are backing a measure that could grant as much as $5 million to the 77-year-old GOP presidential primary front-runner, DeSantis tweeted: “But not the Florida Republican who wields the veto pen…” 

The proposal, filed by state Sen. Ileana Garcia (R-Miami), would set aside state funds for legal fees incurred as a result of criminal charges brought by a “US public entity” on “qualified persons” who have been “subject to political discrimination.”

Trump isn’t named in the bill text, but to qualify for the money, individuals must meet “presidential eligibility requirements” and be Florida residents – both criteria that Trump meets.

DeSantis signaled that he is opposed to a Florida bill that would set aside as much as $5 million for Trump. Getty Images
The Florida governor endorsed Trump for president after ending his presidential campaign on Sunday. AP

“We’re in the midst of an historic moment where we’re watching an election that’s trying to be stolen by Left wing prosecutors, the Biden Administration and even Blue States,” Garcia said in a statement

“They’re not trying to win at the ballot box; they’re trying to keep President Trump off the ballot by weaponizing the courts. 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,” she added.  

Trump has been hit with four criminal indictments since leaving office, including felony charges in two federal cases related to his alleged role in the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the US Capitol and his alleged mishandling of classified White House documents after his presidency. 

He also faces charges in Georgia and New York for his alleged efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 election in the Peach State and for alleged hush money payments made to porn star Stormy Daniels. 

Florida Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis, a Republican, also backs the measure, which would establish the so-called Defending Freedom Fighters Trust Fund to ease the financial burden on Trump. 

“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,” Patronis said in a statement. “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.”

“If we can help and support a Florida candidate for the White House, that’s just good from a dollars and cents perspective,” he added, echoing Garcia. 

Patronis noted that DeSantis, who dropped out of the presidential race on Sunday and endorsed Trump, would also be eligible for the money should he encounter “the same legal headwinds that President Trump is facing” in a future White House run. 

Nikki Fried, the chairwoman of the Florida Democratic Party, slammed the effort. 

“Back at home…people can’t afford their property insurance, kids will go hungry over the summer, teacher pay is 48th in the nation yet this is how the Republicans want to spend YOUR money,” she said in an X post

Florida Senate President Kathleen Passidomo, who has endorsed Trump in 2024, was unclear about whether she would support the bill, telling Politico that the former president “has the means to cover his legal expenses; however, many people do not, which is Senator Garcia’s concern.”


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