(Tuesday, May 11, 2021/NSF) — Former President Donald Trump on Tuesday endorsed Florida Senate President Wilton Simpson, R-Trilby, in a potential run for state agriculture commissioner.
“Wilton Simpson has done an outstanding job as President of the Florida State Senate, and I hope he runs for Florida Agriculture Commissioner in 2022 —- he will have my complete and total endorsement!” the former president said in a statement released by his Save America PAC. “Wilton has been a great supporter and worked hard to get many good conservatives elected in Florida,” Trump continued. “He helped us grow our Republican majority in the Florida State Senate, and gave us a historic win in Florida in the 2020 Presidential Election.”
Simpson, whose business interests include an egg farm, has long been rumored to be eyeing a run for agriculture commissioner. In a statement Tuesday, Simpson called it an “honor” to have Trump “stand” with him if he runs for the Cabinet post. “President Trump has always stood with hard-working American workers and generational family farms like mine,” Simpson said in the statement. Simpson added he would be “a strong voice” for farmers but has not decided if he will run. Simpson’s term as Senate president will end with the 2022 elections.
Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried, the only statewide elected Democrat, can run for re-election in 2022. However, she continues to position herself for a potential run against Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis.
Trump’s statement could help clear the GOP field for Simpson. Former U.S. Rep. Tom Rooney, a Tequesta Republican, has indicated he is considering a run for the agriculture post.
Trump’s statement Tuesday came after Congressman Matt Gaetz, a close political ally of Trump criticized Simpson early this year. Gaetz, who is reportedly under investigation for sex trafficking, took issue with Simpson, particularly over the implementation of an E-Verify program to check if workers are in the country legally. “Florida deserves a Commissioner of Agriculture who doesn’t support illegal immigration. Regardless of political party,” Gaetz said online in January after Simpson’s name was raised as a potential candidate for the job.
God Bless You and Our Farmers
Dear Florida, During this global pandemic there’s a lot of uncertainty. As farmers, we’re used to that. But any farmer worth his salt will tell you, you can’t focus on what might happen, instead you must keep your plow steady and eyes focused ahead.
Florida’s farmers are still rising at dawn, harvesting our crops and feeding our cattle, but we’re also still planting, because feeding America remains our calling and nothing is going to stop us from providing you with the most affordable, safest and most abundant food supply on the planet.
They say that inside every farmer is an optimist. I hope that’s also true for you. So, join us in keeping your hand steady and your eyes fixed. Brighter days remain ahead.
God Bless You and Our Farmers,
Florida Senate President Designate
Photography by: Ian Thornberry