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DeSantis Immediately Attacks Trump At GOP Debate For Skipping Event: 'Missing In Action'

2023-09-28
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Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis attacked former President Donald Trump for skipping the second GOP presidential debate in his first opportunity to speak on the debate stage Wednesday -- marking a departure from his strategy of shying away from attacks on Trump during the first debate last month. DeSantis largely shied away from attacking Trump during the first debate -- in line with a strategy drafted by the pro-DeSantis super-PAC Never Back Down that suggested he instead focus his attacks on fellow contender Vivek Ramaswamy and defend Trump. DeSantis urged the GOP to move on from discussing the January 6 Capitol riots and avoided rebuking Trump's conduct surrounding the 2020 presidential election when asked by Fox News moderators during the first debate whether Pence did the right thing when he rejected Trump's pleas to block the certification of the Electoral College results. Congress has just three days to pass a fiscal year 2024 budget to avert a government shutdown that will take effect at midnight Sunday without a plan in place to guide spending. Hard-right House Republicans, many of whom align with Trump, say they will refuse to pass any short-term spending plan or any budget that includes funding for Ukraine and omits a list of anti-immigration measures. With a slim majority in the House, the far-right resistance effectively prevents any legislation from passing without Democratic votes. The Democratic-controlled Senate, meanwhile, has proposed a short-term spending plan that does not include additional border security funding, and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) has said it has no chance of passing the House. Trump skipped the first two Republican presidential debates and instead participated in competing programs. He sat for a pre-taped interview with former Fox News host Tucker Carlson that aired during the first debate in August. On Wednesday, he delivered a speech to workers at an auto parts manufacturing facility outside Detroit amid the United Auto Workers union strike. Trump was still speaking when the Fox Business/Univision debate in Simi Valley, California began at 9 p.m. EDT. For months leading up to the first debates, Trump expressed doubts that he would attend, citing his significant polling lead over the other candidates. DeSantis Urges GOP To Stop Talking About Jan. 6 In First Debate -- Says Pence 'Did His Duty' (Forbes) DeSantis Debate Strategy Memo Suggests That He Defend Trump, Attack Ramaswamy And Avoid Policy Talk (Forbes)

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