Ron DeSantis Tries to Convince Voters as He Lists Reasons He’s a Better Republican Candidate Than Trump
After spending some time defending his political adversary Donald Trump, Ron DeSantis is now placing some distance between himself and the former president, as both run for president in 2024. The Florida governor detailed all of how he differs from Trump in an interview with ABC News on September 20, covering everything from their upbringings to his participation in the GOP debates.
“I mean, he was born into great wealth, I’m a blue-collar kid that had to work minimum wage jobs to get where I was,” DeSantis said, per Independent while emphasizing that he'd served in Iraq while Trump was working in his father's business as a young man.
DeSantis responds to @SpeakerMcCarthy: “I ran 16 points better than Trump in Florida. I won the greatest victory that’s ever been won by a Republican in the history of [Florida] governor races.”— DeSantis War Room 🐊 (@DeSantisWarRoom) September 19, 2023
“Since Kevin’s been in Congress, they’ve added TRILLIONS and TRILLIONS of dollars to… pic.twitter.com/8owGQQ3Q5o
DeSantis also bragged that he thought he could win the 2020 presidential election and serve two terms in office, while Trump would be “a lame duck on day one” and that he had done better in the Florida governor's campaign than Trump had in the general election.
DeSantis has spent the last three months supporting Trump amid his criminal indictments, so the abrupt shift from his customary stance of defending him to the media comes as quite a shock. DeSantis has spent a significant amount of time taking the frequent criticism he receives from Trump since declaring his run for president to avoid turning the most influential member of the Republican Party against him. After all, DeSantis' success in Florida was largely due to Trump's endorsement.
DeSantis is doing a better job than I could do. He's a better man and better leader than Trump. And he's running a better campaign than Haley, Vivake, Christie and Pence. #RD24🇺🇸— BarnDoor 🇺🇲🐊 (@BarnDoor942) September 21, 2023
However, DeSantis' desire to distance himself from Trump was reflected in the ABC interview. In contrast to his previously reported strategy, which specifically asked DeSantis to defend Trump, this looks to be a new campaign approach. A DeSantis campaign memo, which included recommendations for Florida's governor to "defend Donald Trump," was revealed by the New York Times back in August. "1. Attack Joe Biden and the media 3-5 times. 2. State (DeSantis') positive visions 2-3 times. 3) Hammer Vivek Ramaswamy in a response. 4) Defend Trump in absentia in response to a Chris Christie attack."
This could be an effort to improve DeSantis' image after the Florida governor's performance in the primary polls revealed him to be at his lowest. In the interview, DeSantis specifically criticized Trump's decision to skip the GOP debate. “He owes it to the people to be there,” DeSantis said. “He owes it to the people to make the case and to defend his record. You can’t be not showing up to these things.”
Instead of taking part in the first GOP debate in August, Trump chose to appear in an exclusive interview with Tucker Carlson. For the next second debate, he decided to use a similar tactic, opting to spend time with Michigan voters instead of the GOP debate. In the meantime, DeSantis and the other presidential contenders are getting ready to square off once more on the debate stage.
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