DeSantis Goes After Trump at First Opportunity in Debate

Governor says former president is 'missing in action' at second debate
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 27, 2023 8:37 PM CDT
DeSantis at Debate: Trump Is 'Missing in Action'
From left, North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum, former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy, Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., and former Vice President Mike Pence stand together before a Republican presidential primary debate hosted...   (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

The second Republican debate is underway, the big question being whether any of the seven candidates on stage can make any real traction against absent frontrunner Donald Trump. While Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis was the very last candidate to speak Wednesday night, he made a point to go after Trump when he finally did so. The former president, he said, "is missing in action" because he's skipping another debate, per the Washington Post. DeSantis made the case that Trump's spending has paved the way for today's inflation and thus he should be on stage to defend his policies.

"There have been real questions about how hard DeSantis might come out against Trump," writes Maggie Haberman at the New York Times. "This is something some of his allies have wanted to see him do for some time." Earlier, Chris Christie got in the night's first shot against Trump, saying he "hides behind the walls of his golf clubs" instead of taking questions, per the AP. Prior to that, the other candidates largely kept their criticism focused on President Biden. In the night's first question about the ongoing UAW strike, for example, Sen. Tim Scott said Biden should be on the border with Mexico rather than the picket line, while Mike Pence said Biden should be on the "unemployment line." (More Republican debate stories.)

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