Donald Trump and Ron DeSantis are currently the two leading candidates in the Republican race for the 2024 presidential nomination.
Trump, who boasts a comfortable lead among the majority of Republican-focused polls, has hinted that he will be skipping upcoming debates. This decision hasn’t sat well with his opponents, including DeSantis who is also an author.
“Nobody is entitled to this nomination,” said to conservative radio host Howie Carr, as reported by the New York Times. “I’ll be at all the debates because the American people deserve to hear from us directly about our vision for the country and about how we’re going to be able to beat [President] Joe Biden.”
“You have got to earn the nomination… Every candidate needs to be put to the test and I think he needs to step up and do it.” said DeSantis.
Trump is also set to miss the Family Leadership Summit in Iowa this weekend.
Trump spokesman Steven Cheung clapped back at DeSantis, who he accused of “throwing a temper tantrum because he is losing so badly.”
“DeSantis should focus on his own flailing campaign,” said Cheung in a statement.
The criticism of Trump by DeSantis comes after Republican presidential candidate and former Trump ally Chris Christie has questioned if people can trust Trump if he skips debates.
“Obviously, he’s afraid,” said Christie recently. “He’s afraid to get on the stage against people who are serious.”
If Trump was afraid to debate with fellow Republicans, he would likely be afraid of other world leaders, Christie claimed.
But Trump advisors argue that, given Trump’s comfortable lead in certain polls, he could have more to lose than potentially gain from a debate against his competition. After all, he skipped the final Republican debate in the 2016 election cycle and ultimately won the party’s nomination.
DeSantis has stepped up criticism of Trump in recent months, including the launch of a controversial highlighting Trump’s support for the LGBTQ+ community.
DeSantis has also pushed to highlight items from Trump that might turn off viewers including failing to deliver on some 2016 campaign promises.
The Florida governor has also made public note of Trump not coming to the Iowa event. In Iowa, six presidential candidates, including DeSantis, will be featured in one on one interviews done with former Fox News host Tucker Carlson.
Blaze Media, which is hosting the event, said Trump has a prior obligation.
Trump previously called out a lack of competition in the Republican field and also dismissed DeSantis, who he said wouldn’t be in second place forever.
“Somebody said, ‘How come you only attack (DeSantis)?’ I said, ‘Cause he’s in second place,” said Trump at a New Hampshire event. “But soon, I don’t think he’ll be in second place, so I’ll be attacking somebody else.”
In the latest Morning Consult GOP poll, DeSantis saw his support drop to 17%, the lowest he’s received in the poll since tracking began in December 2022. Trump had 56% of support in the latest poll and a commanding 39-point lead.
After a previous strong relationship with the conservative media outlet, Trump has distance himself and spoken ill of Fox News and its founder Rupert Murdoch.
Trump previously said that Fox wants him to be in the debate to help “get them ratings.”
© 2023 Zenger News.com. Zenger News does not provide investment advice. All rights reserved.
Produced in association with Benzinga
Edited by Judy J. Rotich and Newsdesk Manager
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