(WASHINGTON) — Gov. Ron DeSantis was confronted by one of his own supporters Wednesday, demanding to know why he hasn’t gone after former President Donald Trump more directly.
At a town hall event in Waukee, Iowa, Wednesday, 75-year-old Christopher Garcia asked DeSantis pointedly why he hasn’t “gone directly” after Trump.
“I mean, you’re — in my viewpoint, you’re going pretty soft on him,” Garcia, a voter, said.
DeSantis pushed back, arguing he’s “articulated all the differences time and time again on the campaign trail.”
But his supporter fired back.
Garcia: If Trump had kept his mouth shut for the four years that he was president, he would have won in a landslide. Is that true?
DeSantis: Look, I –
Garcia: Let me finish –
DeSantis: He’s been his own worst enemy. There’s no question about that.
DeSantis has occasionally sharpened his attacks on Trump. In October he said the former president will energize Democrats who want to beat him in 2024.
After the testy exchange between DeSantis and Garcia, ABC News Senior Congressional Correspondent Rachel Scott asked the Florida governor about the confrontation, if his strategy is working and whether he needs to draw a sharper contrast with Trump.
“Let’s have a debate. Let’s get up on the stage. And let’s trade visions for the country,” DeSantis said, calling on Trump to show up for the next debate.
Trump has skipped all of the primary debates, saying he saw no point given his large polling lead.
“There are clear contrasts, and I think the biggest contrast is, simply, I deliver. I promise and then I deliver. That’s what we’ve done. Anything I’m saying, I’m going to have a plan to get done,” DeSantis added.
DeSantis has spent nearly all his time campaigning in this state — visiting all 99 counties and scoring the endorsement of Iowa’s governor. He’s still more than 30 points behind Trump, according to 538’s latest Iowa polling averages.
The supporter who confronted the Florida governor said he’s not satisfied with his answer and disappointed in DeSantis.
“I’m disappointed in the fact that he … doesn’t have a good campaign,” said Garcia, who said he voted for Trump in 2016 and 2020.
“He’s dropping in the polls by Nikki Haley. And he’s twice a candidate that she is, you know, he’s proven. He showed himself what he can do in Florida. So why is he letting Trump go the way he is? I wouldn’t do it,” Garcia said.
South Dakota GOP Gov. Kristi Noem: Nikki Haley as Trump’s VP would be a ‘mistake’
Elsewhere on the campaign trail, South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem, whose name has been floated by some as a potential vice president pick for Trump, said Tuesday it would be a “mistake” for the former president to pick former U.N. ambassador Nikki Haley as his running mate.
Asked by Newsmax’s Eric Bolling Tuesday night if Trump picking Haley as his running mate would be a “mistake,” Noem, responded “yes,” followed by a chuckle.
She then went on to say, “I would tell him I disagree with him, but then I would support the ticket because he’s still the president and the president still makes the decisions.”
“I’ve had a lot of disagreements with Nikki Haley over the years, and I just don’t know which Nikki Haley is going to show up every day,” Noem continued. “She’s a different person, depending on whatever works for her political agenda.”
Noem’s latest comment comes on the eve of her Trump campaign surrogate event in Sioux City, Iowa, Wednesday evening, which is set to kick off a series of Trump campaign events in the final stretch of the first-in-the-nation caucus.
Later in the evening, during a campaign stop in Sioux City, Iowa, Noem also attacked Gov. DeSantis for his response to the COVID-19 pandemic, downplaying his effectiveness as governor.
“At times when everything mattered and your constitutional freedoms were threatened, Ron DeSantis caved to the pressure,” said Noem. “We just can’t afford to put somebody as leader of the free world that caves in to political pressure.”
Christie tells The View he’s ‘anxious to see’ third party options if it’s Trump vs. Biden
Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said Wednesday on ABC’s The View that he would consider voting for a third-party candidate if the 2024 presidential election turns out to be a rematch between President Joe Biden and Trump.
“I would say this, I am anxious to see who a third choice might be if it turns out to be Trump and Biden,” Christie told The View co-hosts.
“Well, not RFK! I know who that is,” he added.
Christie has previously said he wouldn’t vote for either Biden or Trump, which host Joy Behar called “a cop-out.”
Back in October, he brushed away a No Labels bid, but his answer during the show indicates a potential shift in thinking.
The former governor continued to argue that DeSantis and Haley were running for 2028, calling it “complete intellectual dishonesty,” before singling out Haley for, so far, not ruling out the potential to be Trump’s pick for vice president.
“When politicians don’t want to commit to something, they don’t. And what that means is it’s counting it in, so give DeSantis credit for this: He said he would not take vice president under Trump under any circumstances. I’ve said I wouldn’t take vice president Trump. Nikki Haley won’t say it,” Christie said.
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