Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis wasted no time in attacking former President Donald Trump in Wednesday night’s Republican debate, calling Trump out for refusing to participate in the event.
The debate had barely begun when DeSantis used his first opportunity to speak to take a shot at the former president.
“Donald Trump is missing in action,” said the Florida Republican. “He should be on this stage tonight. He owes it to you to defend his record where they added $7.8 trillion to the debt that set the stage for the inflation that we have.”
His comments drew applause from the audience.
DeSantis’ zing is a shift from the way he usually tiptoes around the subject of Trump. For months, he routinely defended Trump ― as Trump attacked him.
The former president may not have been onstage for Wednesday’s debate, but he looms over everything. He remains the party’s standard-bearer despite being impeached twice and currently facing four separate indictments.
As the GOP debate continued, DeSantis’ super PAC blasted out an email taking another swipe at Trump, suggesting he’s scared to face DeSantis.
“Trump Is Too Weak and Too Afraid to Debate Ron DeSantis,” the email from Never Back Down reads.
“Trump attacks DeSantis daily via email and social media – but he’s too afraid to do it in person on the debate stage because he knows he can’t defend his record on issues like COVID and Fauci, spending and debt, and draining the swamp,” the email reads.
“Trump used to mock Democrats who were too afraid to face their opponents on the debate stage,” it continues. “Now it’s Trump who is too afraid to debate.”