DeSantis: ‘Donald Trump Is Not the Same Guy He Was in 2016’

Wednesday, following the third presidential debate, moderated by NBC from the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County in Miami, 2024 GOP presidential hopeful Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) praised NBC for its handling of the debate.

However, the Florida governor also lamented frontrunner former President Donald Trump’s absence from the event.

“Well, I think we did really well,” he said of his performance. “And I think NBC did a good job. I mean, I have watched debates over the years. I’ve participated in a couple already. And I think the people at home probably got a good viewing experience because the questions were substantive. People were able to talk. There wasn’t a lot of screaming back and forth. And so, I think the value of this debate was probably more than the one we did in Simi Valley.”

“Look, Donald Trump is not the same guy he was in 2016,” DeSantis continued. “You would not have been able to keep him off that stage in 2016. The consultants wouldn’t have been able to do that. Now, they don’t want him up on the stage. When he gives speeches, it’s usually off the teleprompter. And I think his view is, is like, well, he has a polling lead. Therefore, why would he want to get involved and actually earn the job?”

“But that’s not the way this goes,” he added. “So what I think you’re going to see because I’m on the ground in the early states, voters are now starting to really pay attention. It is going to hurt him if he’s not willing to debate going forward. Because voters expect you to earn their vote. And if you look at his support, he’s got some that are rock solid. He probably doesn’t have to debate. But other supporters of his are willing to go for another candidate.”

Follow Jeff Poor on Twitter @jeff_poor


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