Ron DeSantis intensifies criticism of Trump
At the second GOP debate, Ron DeSantis did not shy away from criticizing Donald Trump. DeSantis, the Governor of Florida, has since been openly challenging the former president.
As he progresses through his presidential campaign, DeSantis has not held back in contrasting himself against Trump, despite the consistent polling differences between them. The debate was a prominent platform for DeSantis to voice his disagreements, marking a notable escalation in his dispute with Trump.
Post-debate, DeSantis has been increasingly vocal about his criticisms. At a Tampa campaign event, when queried about his appeal in comparison to Trump’s, he stated that many Americans voted against Trump in 2020 and that Trump remains a significant motivator for Democratic voters. DeSantis also dismissively questioned the purpose behind Trump’s fundraising efforts.
In the initial stages of his campaign, DeSantis was more circumspect, often steering discussions towards his achievements in Florida rather than directly addressing Trump. He also emphasized his potential to win a general election and the possibility of serving two consecutive terms, unlike Trump.
However, there were occasions where DeSantis expressed sharper criticisms. On one occasion, he commented on the unfulfilled promise of draining the swamp, and on another, he highlighted Trump’s passive response during significant events while he was in office.
Trump’s absence from the first GOP debate and his comments on certain policy decisions, especially on strict abortion laws, drew considerable criticism, not just from DeSantis but from other Republican leaders. Seizing the moment, DeSantis underscored the need for candidates to actively participate in debates and defend their records. He also criticized Trump for trying to divert attention during events in Iowa.
Additionally, DeSantis did not hold back when discussing the former president’s handling of the pandemic. He recalled how Trump had previously praised him, but later turned against him due to perceived political threats.
On the issue of abortion, Trump’s recent statements provided DeSantis with another avenue for criticism. Trump had suggested that some Republicans had been overly restrictive on abortion, a viewpoint that DeSantis strongly opposed, stating that Trump was preparing to betray pro-lifers.
Despite these challenges, Trump still maintains a strong lead in the polls. However, DeSantis believes that it’s too early for a definitive outcome and points to more variable state polls as indicators of potential momentum for his campaign.
The exchange between the two candidates isn’t one-sided. Trump’s campaign frequently counters DeSantis, engaging with his team online, issuing press statements, and even coining a nickname for him.
A spokesperson for Trump’s campaign dismissed DeSantis’s attacks, pointing out Trump’s polling advantage over both DeSantis and Joe Biden. In response to questions about his change in stance, DeSantis expressed interest in a direct debate with Trump, although it’s uncertain if such an encounter will ever happen.
DeSantis continues to actively engage with other GOP contenders and has even agreed to debate Democrat Gavin Newsom. However, as long as a direct confrontation between Trump and DeSantis remains elusive, their disagreements will likely play out via social media and campaign events.
Concluding a speech in California, DeSantis humorously countered Trump’s claim of turning Florida Republican by wishing that Trump hadn’t flipped other states to the Democrats.