Ron DeSantis tried to lure Donald Trump into participating in the GOP debate on Wednesday.
But Trump skipped the debate and instead hosted his own counter rally in South Florida.
And Ron DeSantis made one point about Ronald Reagan that sent Donald Trump off the rails.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis worked to try and distinguish himself as the one Republican who could defeat Donald Trump and become the GOP nominee.
The first question went to Ron DeSantis, who was asked why Donald Trump should not be the Republican Party’s choice for 2024.
DeSantis hit Trump for refusing to participate in the debate and pinned the recent GOP losses on the former President.
“He owes it to you to be on this stage and explain why he should get another chance,” DeSantis said. “He should explain why he didn’t have Mexico pay for the border wall, he should explain why he racked up so much debt, he should explain why he didn’t drain the swamp and he said Republicans were gonna get tired of winning.”
DeSantis noted the GOP losses on Tuesday in Virginia and Kentucky and told voters that “I’m sick of Republicans losing.”
He touted his record in Florida as the way forward for the national GOP and America.
“In Florida, I showed how it’s done one year ago here,” DeSantis said. “We won a historic victory, including a massive landslide right here in Miami-Dade County,” he continued. “That’s how we have to do it.”
DeSantis said elites like Trump do not care for the people.
“They don’t care that you’re having to grapple with higher grocery prices or have higher gas prices,” DeSantis told the debate audience. “They don’t care that your family’s less secure because of the open border that’s allowed drugs and even terrorists to come into this country.”
“I am not going to sit idly by and let this country continue its downward spiral,” DeSantis promised. “We need leadership and we need it now,” he continued. “I’ll take the hits, I’ll take the arrows, I’ll take the slings because ultimately it’s not about me – it’s about you.”
“I will fight for you,” he added.
DeSantis accused Trump of changing who he was and ripped him as “a lot different guy than he was in 2016.”
In post debate interviews, DeSantis kept up his attacks on Trump for not appearing on stage.
He mocked Trump for only being at 40% despite his massive name recognition.
“He’s at 42%,” DeSantis said about Trump’s massive lead in the polls. “He’s the most famous former elected official in the world, the former Republican President, he’s at 40%.”
To put that into perspective DeSantis drew a comparison to the Gipper himself – Ronald Reagan.
While even the most ardant Trump fans would be unlikely to suggest Trump could hold a candle to Reagan when it comes to conservative credentials, no one can deny Trump’s public persona makes his name far wider known to the public than Reagan’s ever was during his runs for office.
To drive the point home DeSantis suggested with Trump’s name ID, the polls should look like they would have if Reagan was able to run for a third term in 1988.
“If Ronald Reagan ran in like ’88,” DeSantis said, “Ronald Reagan would be getting 85 or 90%.”
Of course, media polling ain’t the real scoreboard.
The truth is polls usually matter little in a game that hinges on one thing at the end of the day – the ability to turn out voters to the polls.
And the Republican Party hasn’t fared well at all in that regard with Trump as de facto head of the Party since 2016.
DeSantis Daily will keep you up-to-date on any new developments in this ongoing story.