Donald Trump went on the attack against his Republican rivals in the aftermath of the second Republican primary debate, which the former president did not attend.
During the debate, former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie tried to call Trump “Donald Duck,” an apparent joke about the former commander-in-chief not attending the debates.
Trump brushed off that nickname in an interview with Fox Digital. “Anyone who would come up with that nickname should not be running for president,” he said.
In the same interview, Trump emphasized that he felt it was more important for him to appear at an event with striking auto workers in Detroit than to attend the debate in California.
While on his social media platform Truth Social, Trump took aim at Governor Ron DeSantis, using the nickname “Ron DeSantimonious” as he posted a video showing DeSantis heaping praise on Trump as he introduced him at a rally in Sunrise , Florida, in November 2019.
Former President Donald Trump was the winner of the evening, according to our DailyMail.com poll, even though he did not attend the debate. Ron DeSantis was named the most ‘competent’
Trump has also rejected efforts by former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie to nickname the former president “Donald Duck.”
During the event, Trump was “welcomed to Florida” by the governor. DeSantis highlighted Trump’s help in repairing military bases destroyed by a hurricane and other policies of the ill-fated administration.
The clip removed the moment Trump took the stage and said, “I always thought Ron was a little heavy,” but added that after seeing him topless he thought, “This guy is strong.”
The New York Times noticed this in 2019, Trump said in his campaign that the then-president meant he saw DeSantis with his jacket off.
During Wednesday’s debate, DeSantis told the audience, “He should be here on this stage tonight.” He owes it to you to defend his record.”
Florida’s governor has been slow to attack Trump for most of the campaign. But as he struggled to make inroads against the former president, he slowly began to sharpen his criticism of the man whose support he once embraced.
With his position in the race in danger of stalling, DeSantis was under pressure Wednesday to deliver a standout and aggressive performance.
DeSantis appeared eager to answer a question after Trump was criticized by former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, who has made hammering Trump a focus of his campaign. DeSantis began speaking at the same time as another candidate and when he finally got the floor, he used his response to slam President Joe Biden and Trump, accusing them of a lack of leadership.
DeSantis saw an opportunity later in the debate to press Trump on abortion, an area where he has recently stepped up his attacks from the right.
DeSantis said Trump was wrong to blame the Republican Party’s lackluster performance in the 2022 midterm elections on the rollback of national abortion rights.
“He should explain his comments here,” DeSantis said. “I want him to look him in the eye and tell it to people who have been fighting this battle for a long time.”
In his interview with Fox Digital in the aftermath of the debate, Trump emphasized that his lead in the Republican field is so large that his presence in Detroit was much more important.
“I thought it was much more important, since I have a 56-point lead, that I would have to deal with the UAW and the fact that the Biden administration is going to destroy their jobs in the next two years by going all-electric. ‘ he said.
‘The crowd was incredible, unreal. “I think we have great support to save the autoworker,” he added.
With less than four months before the Iowa caucuses officially kick off the Republican Party’s nominating process, pressure is mounting on Trump’s rivals to show they can emerge as a real alternative.
JL Partners surveyed 546 Republican viewers in the hour after the debate ended. The results have a margin of error of 4.2 percentage points
The seven candidates on stage continued to talk about what they would do if they become president. But there was little evidence that any of them tried to win that office.
For two hours, participants largely agreed on the content, but bickered over baroque bits of policy or history. Unless asked, they didn’t bring up the man who absolutely dominates the field, Trump.
The one exception was Christie, whose entire campaign is based on condemning the man whose two previous candidacies he supported. But even most of Christie’s criticism was about Trump dodging the debate rather than trying to convince Republican voters to end their love affair with the ex-president.
Yet he went further than anyone else in his argument against Trump, closing the debate by saying, “This man has not only divided our party, he has divided families across the country.”