2024 Election /

DeSantis Says Trump 'Owes It To People' To Participate In Republican Primary Debate

The Former President Said He Hasn't 'Really Made Up [His] Mind'

Florida governor Ron DeSantis, who is currently seeking the Republican nomination in the 2024 Presidential Election, said fellow Republican candidate and former president Donald Trump “owes it to people” to participate in the upcoming primary debate.

DeSantis made his remarks during a Thursday Fox & Friends interview.

“I think we’ll do well either way, but I think he owes it to people to participate,” the Florida governor told Fox News’ Ainsley Earhardt. “Nobody is entitled to be nominated, you got to earn it. You’ve got to earn everything in this world, so I think you show up, I think you participate, I think you make your case, and I think you answer questions. So we’re gonna be doing that regardless of who else shows up, but yeah, I think he ought to participate.”

The former president has previously suggested he may not participate in the Republican primary debates, citing unfavorable coverage of his campaign and polling by Fox News, who is scheduled to host the first Republican primary debate in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on Aug. 23.

“So FoxNews, which is down 37% in the Ratings, doesn’t cover my getting the ‘Man of the Decade’ Award (because of my great trade policies!) in Michigan, or my Keynote Speech for Faith & Freedom in D.C., and then wants me to show up and get them ratings for their ‘Presidential’ Debate, where I’m leading the field by 40 points,” Trump wrote in a June 26 Truth Social post. “All they do is promote, against all hope, Ron DeSanctimonious, and he’s dropping like a rock. Sorry FoxNews, life doesn’t work that way!!!”

Trump also commented on former presidential candidates not participating in debates during an interview with Fox News’ Sunday Morning Futures.

“Ronald Reagan didn’t do it and a lot of other people didn’t do it. When you have a big lead, you don’t do it,” Trump said, per Politico. “We have a lead of 50 and 60 points in some cases.”

“You’re leading people by 50 and 60 points, you say why would you be doing a debate?” he said. “It’s actually not fair. Why would you let somebody that’s at zero or one or two or three be popping you with questions?”

Trump reiterated his decision on participating in the Republican primary debate: “I haven’t really made up my mind.”

“There’s a lot of Republican voters out there, they like what we’ve done in Florida. They know I’m a good governor … but they haven’t seen a lot about me up close and personal, so that gives us a great opportunity to be able to share our vision,” DeSantis said, per Politico. “What we’ve found on the campaign trail in these early states when we’re able to make that case to voters directly, we get a tremendous response.”

Editor’s Note: A previous version of this article misattributed the above quote to Trump. 

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