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Tags: ron desantis | donald trump | rnc | debates | town hall | iowa | 2024 election

DeSantis Challenges Trump to Newsmax Debate

By    |   Tuesday, 21 November 2023 09:28 AM EST

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, during his town hall on Newsmax, challenged former President Donald Trump, the front-runner in the race for the GOP presidential nomination, to a one-hour debate and stressed that it's important for debates to continue, even if the Republican National Committee is no longer in charge of them.

"I'd love to do a debate on Newsmax," DeSantis said during Monday night's town hall. "We get the former president, maybe. Let's just have at it for an hour."

Earlier Monday, Trump urged the RNC, through his Truth Social page, to cancel the remaining primary debates and focus instead on "stop the steal" efforts and the general election.

DeSantis said he doesn't know if it's "necessarily the right way" to allow the RNC to continue controlling the debates.

"That's how it's gone," he said. "Maybe as we go forward, maybe there will be more freewheeling debates."

Trump has declined to participate in the first three Republican primary debates, opting to hold rally events instead, and is not expected to attend the fourth debate, planned for Dec. 6 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.

"I find it funny [that] people say cancel debates and stuff," DeSantis said. "Last time I checked, the people decide who they want to nominate and who they want to elect and Iowans are [getting the] chance to do that."

DeSantis, in addition to the GOP debates, also will hold a debate with California Gov. Gavin Newsom on Nov. 30.

But as far as the presidential debates are concerned, DeSantis said he thinks there should be more of the contests, and they should be held soon.

"I've been saying we need a debate in Iowa before the Iowa caucus," said DeSantis. "We need a debate in New Hampshire before that primary, so hopefully they'll be able to do that."

The governor added that he thinks the debates are becoming more effective as the field of candidates narrows.

"That first debate, there were eight people, and it was harder to get a word in edgewise," he said. "As it gets down to two or three, I think it's going to be a lot more meaningful."

And, DeSantis said, he hopes one of those two or three is Trump.

"Look, me and hopefully Donald Trump, and whoever wants to be the third can come," he said. "I mean, that's fine, but I do think he should debate. I think he owes it to the people to debate. He needs to prove that he's going to be able to handle this ... I'll be there. I'll show up, and we're going to debate."

DeSantis spokeswoman Carly Atchison, appearing on Newsmax's "Wake Up America" Tuesday morning, pointed out that the governor is running in second place in Iowa, where caucusgoers still have not all made up their minds.

"There's a lot of open minds here on the ground," she said. "Showing up matters. Shaking his hands matter, and the American people in Iowa, voters especially, expect to have each of the candidates come and spend time in the Hawkeye State."

Atchison added that DeSantis had events over the weekend during which people arrived who were leaning toward Trump or one of the other candidates "and then they left ready to caucus for Ron DeSantis."

With 55 days left until the Iowa caucuses, "there are a lot of open minds and a lot of work to be done," she said. "If Donald Trump wants to make the case to the people he's asking for a vote, he should show up."


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Sandy Fitzgerald

Sandy Fitzgerald has more than three decades in journalism and serves as a general assignment writer for Newsmax covering news, media, and politics. 

© 2024 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis challenged former President Donald Trump to a one-hour debate and stressed that it's important for debates to continue, even if the Republican National Committee is no longer in charge of them.
ron desantis, donald trump, rnc, debates, town hall, iowa, 2024 election, newsmax
Tuesday, 21 November 2023 09:28 AM
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