Gov. Ron DeSantis Commits to First GOP Presidential Debate — Whether Trump Shows or Not

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is determined to take the stage at the first GOP presidential debate in August, regardless of whether former President Donald Trump decides to participate. With the Republican National Committee setting stringent requirements for candidates and speculation swirling around Trump’s potential disruptive tactics, DeSantis affirmed his commitment to the debate, emphasizing its importance in showcasing his candidacy, vision, and leadership to a wide audience.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis stated in an interview with Fox News on Thursday.

DeSantis expressed his belief that it is a crucial part of the political process and looks forward to presenting his candidacy, vision, and leadership to a broad audience.

“I’ll be there, regardless. I hope everybody who is eligible comes,” he said. “I think it is an important part of the process, and I look forward to being able to be on the stage and introducing our candidacy and our vision and our leadership to a wide audience.”

Trump has indicated that he may choose not to partake in the inaugural 2024 Republican Party primary debate scheduled for August.

Instead, he is considering organizing a separate event, citing two reasons: his frontrunner status in opinion polls and his belief that the hosting network demonstrates a biased stance against him. During an interview with Reuters, Trump responded with “possibly not” when asked about his participation in the debate, which is set to be hosted by Fox News in Milwaukee on August 23.

The lineup for the initial debate is still uncertain, as the Republican National Committee has established criteria based on polling, contributions, and signing a loyalty pledge to support the eventual GOP nominee.

Meeting these requirements might prove challenging for some candidates in the lower-tier. Moreover, there is speculation about whether Trump, who currently leads the race, will participate. So far, he has shown disinterest, and sources have indicated that he may explore alternative events that could disrupt the debate.

During the interview, Fox News host Will Cain questioned DeSantis about his lower poll numbers compared to Trump. The governor responded by stating that he is only just beginning and believes that being targeted by various entities is an indication that his message is resonating.

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He remarked, “Well, I think if you look at the people like the corporate media, who are they going after? Who do they not want to be the nominee? They’re going after me. Who is the president of Mexico attacking because he knows we will be strong on the border, to hold him accountable and the cartels? He is going after me. So, I think if you look at all these people that are responsible for a lot of the ills in our society, they are targeting me as the person they don’t want to see as the candidate.”

DeSantis recently drew attention for expressing support for the use of deadly force against suspected drug-carrying migrants entering the United States.

Regarding campaign fundraising, DeSantis’ presidential campaign announced that it has raised over $20 million since its launch in late May. Additionally, the super PAC supporting him has gathered $130 million thus far. On the other hand, Trump’s joint fundraising effort, encompassing his campaign and leadership PAC, reported raising more than $35 million between April and June. However, the exact allocation between the entities remains unclear, and Trump’s leadership PAC, Save America, also covers his legal expenses.

While DeSantis is trailing appreciably in the polls, his recent fundraising success and GOP establishment backing has solidified his position as Trump’s chief contender in the primary race.

By Melinda Davies
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