TAMPA, Fla. — Back in Tampa for the first time since winning the 2016 election, President Donald Trump took to the stage Tuesday to assume the role of kingmaker.
- Trump issued support for Ron DeSantis, Rick Scott
- Remarks also covered current state of economy, Supreme Court nomination
- No mention of Russia investigation during event
During his appearance before a raucous crowd at the Florida State Fairgrounds Expo Hall, he let the crowd know loud and clear who he was supporting in the race to be the state's next governor: Congressman Ron DeSantis.
"He's tough, he's smart, he loves Florida," Trump said, with DeSantis on stage nearby. "He's going to be your next governor."
"For somebody who grew up across the bay in Pinellas County, making $6 an hour, it is a true honor to be endorsed by the President of the United States," DeSantis said.
Endorsing DeSantis for governor wasn't the only time Trump weighed in on a Florida race during the event. He took the opportunity to also back the state's current governor, Rick Scott, in his effort to win a seat in the U.S. Senate.
"One of the nation's truly great leaders — Rick Scott," Trump said, going on to predict that Scott would defeat the incumbent senator, Bill Nelson.
"His name is Bill Nelson," Trump said to the crowd. "The only time I see him is about five months before every election."
Scott appeared with Trump earlier during the day at Tampa Bay Technical High School, but was not present at the rally.
The president also took time during his remarks to look towards his own political future and challenges therein. He touted the nation's booming economy, spoke confidently about his outlook on the Supreme Court, and emphasized yet again his efforts on border security.
Trump's star power with his supporters was on full display throughout the day leading up to the event, as thousands waited hours to get into the rally.
"It was a positive upbeat message," said supporter Kevin Wright. "It's all true. So many people are experiencing the best times of their lives right now and it shows on their faces."
"America is changing," said supporter Kevin Fecteau. "The economy, jobs, steel. I was watching a gentleman on TV cry the other day because he has a job for the first time in two years at a steel plant."
Fecteau went on to explain that he wasn't always a Trump supporter -- far from it, in fact. But his opinion has changed as he's watched the economy turn around.