Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis recently revealed that he believes former President Donald Trump, who has dropped a number of hints that he might skip the GOP primary debates, has an obligation to American voters and should “show up and make his case.” There are a number of different takes on this, with people on either side strongly voicing reasons why Trump should or shouldn’t come to the debates. I’m of the persuasion that Trump should show up and debate, but may for different reasons than DeSantis.
I think that not showing up to the debates will be used as attacks against the former president and that his lack of participation will be perceived as weakness, as if he is afraid to engage in conversation concerning his policy positions and what he would do with a second term in the White House. Does that mean he’s weak or scared? No. Trump doesn’t seem the type to be afraid of engaging in conversation about his policies. But that won’t stop it from being perceived that way.
“DeSantis made the remark when he spoke with Newsmax’s Eric Bolling, who asked if Trump should take part in the Fox News-hosted first debate, set for Aug. 23 in Milwaukee. Trump has not said unequivocally that he will be a no-show, but has given that indication,” the Daily Wire reported.
“Yeah, I think he ought to debate,” DeSantis commented. “I’m going to debate; I’m going to be there. It’s a great opportunity for us to have a great discussion about the country’s future.”
“Nobody’s entitled to be nominated; you’ve got to earn it,” DeSantis continued. “And I think he should show up and make his case and answer questions like the rest of us. At the end of the day, this country’s in decline. We all see that, we all know that. I’m running because I want to reverse the decline.”
The Florida Republican went on to state that he hopes future GOP debates are focused on the issues, promising that he would not engage in personal attacks, even if the former president decides to go that route first.
“When I announced my candidacy in May I was asked questions about Trump criticizing me,” he explained. “I hit back very directly but it was on substance. I’m not going to attack him personally. I’m not going to call him names. I’m not gonna do that. That’s just not my style, not my cup of tea.”
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DeSantis, speaking with Bolling, then said that if he should end up being the next president, he is fully planning to start the balling rolling at full speed.
“We’re gonna spit nails,” The GOP candidate said. “We’re gonna bring all this stuff in for a landing and the country will be better off for it.” For some reason, this comment reminds me of something Mickey said to Rocky Balboa in the second film in the franchise. While watching the hero of the story training for his rematch with Apollo Creed, he told Rocky he was “going to eat lightning and crap thunder.”
I feel like that’s what DeSantis is saying his administration is going to do. It’s going to be fast and furious if he wins the White House. Let’s hope he truly means what he says. He’s proven to be a man of his word thus far.
“NBC News reported in late June that Trump was thinking of skipping the GOP debate and scheduling an event of his own instead. Trump has skipped debates before, including in 2016, when he missed the final Republican debate before the Iowa caucuses, instead holding a fundraiser for veterans. He subsequently lost the Iowa caucuses to Texas GOP Senator Ted Cruz,” the reports said.
Earlier in the month, the Florida governor gave his pitch for appealing far beyond just the Republican Party by saying, “At the end of the day, people want to win, and you can’t win with just Republican voters. I think we showed in Florida, if you want a big victory, you’ve got to win independent voters, you’ve got to win people who haven’t voted for our party in the last several cycles. I’ve shown I can do that, and I think we can do it nationally.”