Desantis Spars With Moderators, Leads GOP Mutiny in Second Debate
Seven candidates faced off in the second round of the Republican primary debates, with several stepping up their attacks against Joe Biden, Donald Trump, and each other. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, positioned center stage, spent more time in the fray compared to the first round and clashed with fellow contenders Nikki Haley and Tim Scott. However, the Governor’s most stand-out moment came when he went head-to-head with the debate moderators, who he said asked a “disrespectful” question.
“It’s now obvious that if you all stay in the race, former president Donald Trump wins the nomination,” said Fox Business Network debate moderator. Dana Perino. “None of you have indicated that you’re dropping out. So which one of you onstage tonight should be voted off the island?”
Candidates were allotted 15 seconds to write down an answer on the notepads in front of them, but while some of the Republicans reached for their markers, DeSantis started to shake his head.
“I’ll decline to do that with all due respect. I mean, we’re here, we’re happy to debate, but I think that that’s disrespectful to my fellow competitors. Let’s talk about the future of the country.”
Former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley also pushed back, asking the moderators, “Are you serious?”
Former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie initially followed DeSantis’ lead in telling the hosts, “I’m not doing it,” but when prodded, he offered up Donald Trump’s name for his “vote off the island.”
Earlier in the debate, DeSantis also sparred with one of the moderators over a question about Florida’s history curriculum.
Ilia Calderon, a host from the left-wing Spanish language network Univision, was invited by the RNC to serve as one of the three moderators. Calderon, hoping to trap DeSantis in a ‘gotcha’ moment, revived the months-old hoax about Florida’s education standards promoting slavery.
“‘Slaves developed skills which in some instances could be applied for their personal benefit.’ You have said, ‘Slaves developed skills in spite of slavery, not because of it,’ but many are still hurt. For the sentence of slaves, this is personal. What is your message to them?” Calderon asked.
Tim Scott, the only black Republican on stage, chimed in and told DeSantis, “Just take the line out. Just take the line out.”
DeSantis, ready with an answer, shot back at his critics,
“So first of all, that’s a hoax that was perpetuated by Kamala Harris.”
DeSantis told Calderon to “stop playing these games” and brought up that the curriculum in question was written by the descendants of slaves and black history scholars.
“Here’s the deal. Our country’s education system is in decline because it’s focused on indoctrination, denying parents’ rights. Florida represents the revival of American education. We’re ranked #1 in the nation in education by US News and World Report.”
“My wife and I have a six, three, and five-year-old,” he continued. “This is personal for us.”
“We didn’t just talk about universal school choice. We enacted universal school choice. We didn’t just talk about the Parents’ Bill of Rights. We enacted the Parents’ Bill of Rights. We eliminated Critical Race Theory, and now we have American civics and the constitution in our schools in a really big way just like President Reagan asked for in his farewell address back in 1989. Florida is showing how it’s done. We’re standing with parents, and our kids are benefiting.”
The GOP primary field is expected to travel to Miami for the third round of the debates. The Associated Press reports that it will be held on November 8.
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- DeSantis Ramps Up Attacks On Haley Ahead of Final GOP Debate - December 6, 2023