(JTA) — Lee Zeldin, the Jewish Republican who launched a close but failed bid for governor of New York, has endorsed Donald Trump for president.
“The GOP is filled with amazing talent to save our country from the failed policies of the Biden Admin,” Zeldin tweeted Monday afternoon. “Our nominee in 2024 will be the 45th & 47th POTUS, Donald Trump. Our economy will be stronger, our streets will be safer, & our lives will be freer. He has my full support!”
Zeldin represented his Long Island district in Congress from 2015 until earlier this year, after he left to run for governor. He was an avid defender of Trump while in Congress but distanced himself from the former president during his gubernatorial campaign, barely mentioning Trump, who is seen as toxic in New York. Zeldin’s one fundraiser with Trump was out of state.
Zeldin’s endorsement signals his return to the Trump camp at a time when Trump’s 2024 presidential bid appears to be gaining steam, despite the former president’s indictment on charges related to his alleged role in a payoff to an adult film star who claims they had a sexual encounter. Trump is outperforming his presumptive rivals in polls, while Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who had been viewed as a strong competitor, is foundering.
DeSantis, who is headed to Israel for an official visit this week, drew some of the largest applause at last November’s Republican Jewish Coalition confab in Las Vegas. Trump spoke only via video message, and few in attendance seemed to be excited about his candidacy.
Zeldin, seen as a bright spot among Jewish Republicans because of his near-win in a solid-blue state, joined the board of the Republican Jewish Coalition shortly afterwards.