Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has “totally forgotten his past,” former President Donald Trump said following the first Republican debate.
“DeSanctimonious was a ‘BOMB’ tonight, especially with his softball interview with Sean Hannity. This guy has totally forgotten his past,” Trump said in a Truth Social post shortly after midnight. “Who cares!?!?”
“Ron DeSanctimonious is always talking about the number of votes he got in Florida. He doesn’t say that I got a record 1.1 Million more votes than him. He forgot!!!” he added in another post.
DeSantis was among those who said former Vice President Mike Pence did the “right thing” on January 6 during the debate, but critics are also pointing to other key moments which they believe are telling.
For instance, while DeSantis has been strong on pro-life issues in his state, he refused to clearly state if he would support federal abortion restrictions, vaguely telling moderators that he would “support the cause of life.”
“I’m going to stand on the side of life. Look, I understand Wisconsin is going to do it different than Texas. I understand Iowa and New Hampshire are going to do it differently. But I will support the cause of life as governor and as president,” he said, after attacking Democrats for their extreme abortion position.
“We’re better than what the Democrats are selling. We are not going to allow abortion all the way up until birth , and we will hold them accountable for their extremism,” he continued.
Perhaps one of the most telling moments for DeSantis came after Bret Baier asked candidates to raise their hand if they would support Trump as their party’s nominee, even if he is “convicted in a court of law.” Vivek Ramaswamy was the first candidate to raise his hand, followed by three others — South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott, and North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum. The crowd cheered, and at that point, DeSantis appeared to look to Ramaswamy’s side of the stage, viewing all the hands raised before proceeding to raise his own. His delay sparked much criticism across social media.
DeSantis literally looked around to make sure it was safe to raise his hand!
— Brenden Dilley (@WarlordDilley) August 24, 2023
Wow. That was weird. Moderator just asked if Trump were the nominee and he were convicted, would you support him, raise your hand. A bunch of hands went up. DeSantis looked around first, then raised his hand. Terrible.
— Joe Walsh (@WalshFreedom) August 24, 2023
WOW – Ron had to check out the rest of the stage to decide whether or not to raise his hand.
— Trump War Room (@TrumpWarRoom) August 24, 2023
WOW! Very telling moment as candidates are asked if they’d support a convicted Donald Trump as the party’s choice.
Ramaswamy immediately raises hand.
Haley and Scott follow.
DeSantis hesitates and looks first to see if others have raised hands before raising hand.
— Brandon Straka (@BrandonStraka) August 24, 2023
The DeSantis campaign, however, is proclaiming victory, asserting that he dominated and sharing a piece from the New York Post declaring the Florida governor the “winner” of the debate.
🔥🔥🔥"Ron DeSantis was WINNER of the first 2024 Republican debate — man best suited to unseat Trump"https://t.co/cBDnpFKvaq
— Bryan Griffin (@BryanDGriffin) August 24, 2023
"Tonight, Ron DeSantis showed the nation that he is ready to beat Joe Biden, reverse our nation’s decline, and revive the American Dream." pic.twitter.com/R41pzNHaMI
— Andrew Romeo (@andrewromeo33) August 24, 2023