DeSantis ‘Preparing for Anything Under the Sun’ For GOP Debate
Governor Ron DeSantis says he is “preparing for anything under the sun” ahead of this election cycle’s first Republican primary debate next week. DeSantis appeared on the Guy Benson Show Wednesday and shared some insight into his strategy, which includes embracing the attacks he’s received from across the aisle and within his party.
“Ever since we won reelection in Florida by such a historic margin, people have identified me as a threat,” DeSantis told Fox Radio host Benson.
“The Democrats have identified me as a threat. Biden, Harris, they spend more time attacking me than anybody else. The media, they have been after me. I have probably had more hit pieces from the corporate press than any other candidate running.”
DeSantis identified the debate as “an opportunity to be able to speak to a large audience of voters who have not yet paid attention to this primary.” He says he plans to articulate the “core message [that] this country’s in decline” and help voters get to know him “as an individual, as a dad, as a veteran, and as a governor.”
DeSantis says Trump should debate: "They want to create the narrative that somehow he's inevitable, but the fact they frantically attack me all the time shows they don't actually believe that … I was the only candidate he cared about in Iowa. He came because I was there."
— Stephanie Murray (@stephanie_murr) August 16, 2023
While DeSantis has butted heads with Joe Biden and is reportedly planning a debate with California Governor Gavin Newsom, Benson pointed out that his current harshest critic is not in the Democratic Party. “He will come after you, obviously, if he’s up there,” the Fox Radio host said, referring to former President Donald Trump.
Benson referenced the latest breakdown in campaign expenditures, showing DeSantis as the number one attacked candidate in the race. The Governor has endured more than $20.2 million in negative independent expenditure spending, compared to $8.1 million in attacks against Trump.
“They had a breakdown of the spending, the negative spending in the race so far, in terms of dollars spent attacking a candidate, and it wasn’t even close,” Benson said.
“[Trump] started running ads against me months before I was even a declared candidate for president,” DeSantis said.
“I was literally down in Florida racking up all these big, historic victories that conservatives have been waiting for, for a long time, things like universal school choice, constitutional carry for Second Amendment, and he’s dropping negative commercials against me while I’m doing that.”
“I think the reason is, is because they know, once voters key in, once they learn about me, my bio, my family, our record, and our vision, they know that that’s going to be positive in a Republican primary,” DeSantis added.
In our interview with @RonDeSantis today, he told me Donald Trump “owes it to people” to debate next week — and when asked about Trump’s latest round of re-litigating 2020 ‘stop the steal’ claims in Georgia, DeSantis said: “If we are fighting about what happened in 2020 or…
— Guy Benson (@guypbenson) August 16, 2023
With the debate scheduled for August 23, it is still uncertain whether the former President plans to attend. “We assume he may be there,” DeSantis told Benson. “Some people say not […] we will be ready either way.” He continued, saying that regardless of Trump’s attendance, he expects to be the candidate the GOP primary lineup attacks the most.
“The other candidates, a lot of them don’t really say much about Donald Trump, and they — they focus more on me. So, we’re going to be ready for all of that.”
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