Jan 23, 2024 - Politics & Policy

DeSantis quashes push to use tax dollars for Trump’s legal bills

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) speaking in Iowa on Jan. 15.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) speaking in Iowa on Jan. 15. Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) suggested on Monday that he would veto a proposed bill to authorize the use of state tax dollars for former President Trump's legal bills.

Why it matters: DeSantis' comments on the bill, which was withdrawn shortly after his remarks, come days after he ended his 2024 presidential campaign and endorsed Trump.

Catch up quickly: State Sen. Ileana Garcia, a Miami Republican, had filed the bill for consideration during Florida's legislative session.

  • It would have allowed the state to give Trump as much as $5 million in taxpayer dollars for legal fees incurred from his ongoing court cases.
  • DeSantis on Monday responded to a report on Florida Republicans who wanted to use public funds for Trump's legal bills, saying that he was not among them.
  • "But not the Florida Republican who wields the veto pen..." he said on social media.

After DeSantis made his opposition clear, Garcia said she would withdraw the measure, claiming she introduced it because she was worried about "the political weaponization against conservative candidates."

  • However, she also pointed out that she filed it while several candidates, including DeSantis, had been challenging Trump for the Republican presidential nomination.
  • She said the bill was brought to her by Jimmy Patronis, Florida's chief financial officer who had praised Garcia for the legislation, saying they would "work hard to ensure President Trump has the support he needs to make our country great again!"

The big picture: Trump has extensively intertwined his legal woes with his presidential campaign, Axios' Erin Doherty reports.

  • Political action committees backing Trump have paid tens of millions of dollars to cover his legal bills.
  • At the same time, Trump has made the cases against him central to his grievance-laden campaign and used the legal threats to gain sympathy from supporters, all while hinting at revenge if he wins in November.

Go deeper: How Ron DeSantis' promising GOP candidacy went up in flames

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