Floridians will form a definite presence during the Republican National Convention that opens Monday in Charlotte, N.C., but the state’s top Republican — Gov. Ron DeSantis — seemed likely to play a remote and unbilled role.
The GOP released a list of planned speakers who include Matt Gaetz, the Panhandle Republican congressman who’s been one of President Trump’s biggest supporters, who will appear Monday.
The governor “will be involved” DeSantis spokesman Fred Piccolo said via email. Asked about a report in Politico that the governor would announce Florida’s roll call vote, Piccolo referred the question to the state party, where a spokeswoman had no immediate reply.
The governor also was scheduled to make an announcement at noon E.T. from Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, where he has frequently discussed developments in the fight against COVID-19.
Also missing from the speakers’ list are Florida’s two U.S. senators, Marco Rubio and Rick Scott.
However, Scott will host a press call this afternoon. “This call, held to coincide with the first day of the Republican National Convention, will highlight what four more years of President Trump’s ‘Promises Made, Promises Kept’ agenda will deliver for Florida,” according to Emma Vaughn, Florida Press Secretary of the Republican National Committee.
A Trump convention was getting under way Monday in Charlotte after the president scrapped last-minute plan to move many of the proceedings to Jacksonville; North Carolina officials had put up unwelcome-to-Trump COVID restrictions but similar concerns forced Trump to bail on Jacksonville, too.
Trump and First Lady Melania Trump were scheduled to address delegates from outside the White House later in the week.
DeSantis has good reason to stay home — Tropical Storm Laura is expected to lash the Florida Keys on Tuesday and strengthen into a hurricane as it passes over the Gulf of Mexico.
Andrew Pollack, whose daughter, Meadow, was among the 17 people murdered at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in 2018, will speak on Monday. Fred Guttenberg, who lost his daughter, Jaime, addressed the Democratic National Convention last week.
Tuesday’s line-up features Florida Lt. Gov. Jeanette Nuñez, once a Trump critic who now co-chairs Latinos for Trump, and former state Attorney General Pam Bondi, who served as one of Trump’s impeachment managers.