Despite what his super PAC’s leaked memo suggested, Gov. Ron DeSantis refrained from throwing punches at his Republican presidential primary opponents during last night’s Fox News debate in Milwaukee. (He also didn’t get nearly as many thrown at him as many thought.) Instead, he spoke directly to viewers about his record in Florida.
The governor ran down the list of his accomplishments that already dominates most of his campaign’s messaging. The governor brought up how he opened the state during the COVID-19 pandemic (after he closed it, which wasn’t mentioned), signed a six-week abortion ban, ousted “Soros-funded” district attorneys, and targeted critical race and gender theory in schools.
That kept the memo leak from being used against him and allowed him to play to the record that helped him dominate electorally in Florida. But he was somewhat relegated to a side player amid the constant attacks Mike Pence, Nikki Haley and Chris Christie kept lobbing at Vivek Ramaswamy.
He still had some moments. One of them was his pledge to use special forces at the southern border and even in Mexico to target the import of fentanyl and stop rampant illegal immigration, working to make members of the cartel “stone cold dead.” He said, “As president, would I use force? Would I treat them as foreign terrorist organizations? You’re darn right I would.”
That caught some Democrats back home crosswise. Florida Democratic Party chair Nikki Fried attacked the comment shortly after it was made, pointing out his campaign was already fundraising on it. “More frightening is that Ron has already made a shirt. Trying to fundraise off of murder. Pathetic,” she posted on social media.
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