DeSantis advisors expect ‘dog-pile on Ron’ at Milwaukee debate after leaked strategy for HIM to savage rival
Ron DeSantis is preparing for a barrage of attacks against him on the debate stage on Wednesday with front-runner Donald Trump absent and the race for second place in full swing.
Florida governor’s top advisers expect the seven other contestants to “take a shot at Ron” on the debate stage in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. according to Axios.
Trump will not take part in the first debate, saying the show is below him because he is so far ahead of the rest of the crowded field. Presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy agrees, telling reporters at a conservative conference in Atlanta on Saturday that Trump has done this many times before and he doesn’t need to reintroduce himself to American voters.
Meanwhile, an internal memo leaked in recent days containing advice DeSantis received for his debate strategy, including defending Trump.
Instead of participating in the debate, Trump sits down with former Fox News host Tucker Carlson — another disapproval of the network hosting the event.
Fox News is gearing up for a dazzling show at the first 2024 Republican primary debate at the swing state’s Fiserv Forum, including using drones that can be flown both indoors and outdoors to provide aerial photos and video of the indoor and outdoor scenes around the arena.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis prepares for a ‘dog pile’ against him during the first GOP debate in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on Wednesday, as he is the top voting candidate to take the stage
Former President Donald Trump skips debate with candidates well behind him and instead sits down with former Fox News host Tucker Carlson
Debate co-moderator Martha MacCallum says she’ll prepare for her prep day by listening to bands like The Killers during her morning run and then meditating and praying. After the debate, she drinks a cocktail. Fellow moderator Bret Baier says he also goes for a morning run and limits his coffee intake to “six cups or less.”
DeSantis campaign manager James Uthmeier sent a memo to supporters this weekend saying the debate will be an opportunity for other candidates to “make headlines by attacking the governor.”
But the governor won’t focus on fighting candidates below him — and his campaign says he’ll choose to emphasize his “vision to defeat Joe Biden” and “reverse the American decline” rather than to attack Trump.
However, DeSantis has criticized Trump for refusing to participate in the debate, saying this indicates the ex-president feels “entitled” to the nomination rather than thinking he has to earn Americans’ support.
Trump acknowledges that his supporters may want to see him debate because they want to see him put on a show. At a rally in July, he said, “You just want entertainment,” when they cheered for him to go to the debate.
Recent polls indicate that Trump skipping the debate could pose some risks to his massive lead.
There are nine candidates who qualified to debate Wednesday at the Fiserv Forum arena in Milwaukee, Wisconsin — but only eight will take the stage, as Trump skips the Fox News-hosted event to instead sit down with former Fox host Tucker Carlson. Fox plans to use drones both inside and outside the arena to produce a spectacular show
Meanwhile, DeSantis sometimes struggles to maintain his second-place lead over the 13 other candidates clamoring for his No. 2 spot behind the former president. Although he has held the lead for most of his candidacy, some regional polls show candidates such as Senator Tim Scott, biotech millionaire Vivek Ramaswamy and former UN ambassador Nikki Haley gaining ground.
Along with DeSantis, Scott, Haley and Ramaswamy, the other candidates who qualified for the debate are former Vice President Mike Pence, former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, former Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson, and Governor of North Dakota, Doug Burgum.
Christie said Friday that if DeSantis follows the advice on the leaked memo, he should simply drop out of the race and support Trump.
DeSantis’ campaign said the memo was not created by the campaign and that the candidate and his team first learned of the memo’s existence when it was reported by The New York Times on Thursday.
“When you’re over target, you get the most flak,” DeSantis said. “If you look, really in the last 6-9 months, I’ve been attacked more than anyone else. People know I’m the biggest threat.’
The debate is a crossroads for DeSantis as he fails to overtake Trump in the polls but still maintains a lead over the rest of the field.
Former Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson is latest to enter the debates, hitting polling and donor thresholds just days before Wednesday’s debate
Republican mega-donors who want a Trump alternative say they’ll see if DeSantis has any hope of running in the 2024 primary.
Trump suggested on his Truth Social account that he watch the debate to look for potential running mates.
Fox moderators indicate they will ask other candidates on the debate stage about Trump — specifically his claims that the 2020 election was a sham and his mishandling of classified documents, both of which he has been charged with in recent months.
The Times reported that Trump surrogates and his senior aides Chris LaCivita, Jason Miller and Steven Cheung will all be present in Milwaukee during the debate.