Rep. Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.) is resigning from Congress to focus on his campaign for Florida governor, he announced Monday.
The Republican lawmaker submitted his immediate resignation in a letter to House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) on Monday. DeSantis wrote in the letter that it would be “inappropriate” to accept a salary while dedicating much of his time toward his gubernatorial bid.
“This is not a decision I make lightly,” DeSantis wrote. “It has been an honor to serve the people of Florida’s Sixth Congressional District.”
DeSantis was sworn into office in January 2013. During his congressional tenure, he sat on several committees, including the Committee on Foreign Affairs and Committee on the Judiciary. He was named chairman of the Subcommittee on National Security in 2014.
President Donald Trump has long supported DeSantis’ political endeavors, calling him “very impressive” during his congressional campaign in 2012. Trump tweeted DeSantis has his “full and total Endorsement” for Florida governor last month.
DeSantis’ departure from Congress follows reports that he has spoken four times at a conference organized by conservative activist David Horowitz, a white race war theorist.
Last month, he faced backlash for making racist jabs at his Democratic opponent Andrew Gillum, the state’s first black candidate for governor.
“The last thing we need to do is to monkey this up by trying to embrace a socialist agenda with huge tax increases and bankrupting the state,” DeSantis had said on Fox News after calling Gillum “articulate.”
DeSantis’ campaign denies his controversial comments were about anything other than the economy.
This has been updated throughout.