Portrait of Ron DeSantis

DeSantis Campaign Press Release - ICYMI: Ron DeSantis Holds Virtual Press Conference with Iowa Media

October 25, 2023

"I think [Trump] should debate and I'm willing to allow him to bring his teleprompter to the debate, if that's what he wants to do."

Tallahassee, FL - Ron DeSantis today held a virtual press conference with Iowa media. The highlights are below.

Watch the full interview HERE.

On why he is continuing to build on his momentum in Iowa:

We've done Iowa the right way. We've done it the way candidates who have won Iowa in the past have done it. And Iowans want to see us. They want to see you ask for their support. They want to shake your hand; they want to be able to ask you questions. They do not like candidates who think they're entitled to the vote. They want a candidate that's going to come in and earn the vote. So, we've done that. We were really the first one to lay an organization. And then of course, my commitment to doing the full Grassley. So, I think it's one thing to say you're going to shift some staff or whatnot in there, and that's fine. People can do what they want to do. But I'll be the only candidate to have done all 99 counties. And I think if you look at the support we've been able to generate, I talked to Iowans on the ground who are very familiar with history of the Iowa caucuses. And they will tell me, they're like, you know, 'Governor, you're ahead of where previous winners were in the last however many cycles out. So, just keep doing what you're doing.' So, I think we've got the right strategy. I think we've got the right message for Iowans, because I think Iowans ultimately want a conservative leader who's going to stand for their values and is going to be able to deliver results. And so just like I've done in Florida, like your Governor Kim Reynolds has done in Iowa, we need that in the next President of the United States. And I think that we're getting the support that we need. We're going to work very hard over these next 80 some odd days, of course, but I think we're going to continue to build the support that we need.

On why Republicans need to make the 2024 election about the future:

So, it's incumbent upon us as Republicans to make that case about Biden's failures but then also offer a positive vision of how you reverse the decline of this country, how we bring America back and I'm the candidate that can do that. And if that's what the election is focused on, then we're going to win not just the White House, we will win the house by bigger majority, we will recapture the US Senate majority. And we'll win up and down the ballot in the state legislative races, which are really, really important as people in Iowa have known with all the good work your legislators done. On the other hand, if the election is a referendum about all things Trump, if it's focusing on documents at Mar a Lago, it's focusing on January 6th, if it's focusing on all those things, well, then Biden's just going to be hanging out in the basement again. You're going to end up energizing a lot of Democrats who want to come out and vote against Trump. And then we ended up in a situation where the Democrats like they were able to do in '22, and in 2018, and in some of these years 2020, they're then going to be able to have the upper hand. So, I think it's a question about, how do you want the election framed? If the elections framed about the issue the American people care about, we will win. If the elections framed about all these other issues from the past, that is absolutely going to help Democrats. I don't think there's any question about it. They wouldn't be doing all these cases if they didn't think that it would help them ultimately win the election.

On the importance of showing up to debate:

I'm going to show up to debate. I think that's part of the process. I think people want to hear from you. I think it gives you an opportunity to articulate why are you the best person to be the 47th President of the United States. Donald Trump should show up to these debates. He's been totally missing in action. He swoops into Iowa, then he leaves. He was in New Hampshire for a short time then he leaves. He's always on the teleprompter now. That's kind of something that he can't get off of. When he does go off script, he ends up saying things like he told people in New Hampshire, they didn't need to worry about voting, that he already had enough votes or something, which is very odd to do. Of course, he said things in Iowa. He's been in interviews where he's done things like attack Bibi Netanyahu. So, he of course, attacked pro-lifers and taxed pro-life protections as being somehow a terrible thing. So, you see that time and time again. So, I think he owes it to the voters to show up. Remember, October of 2020, that first debate with Biden, Biden beat him in that debate. And that was really incredible that he allowed that to happen. But that's, people remember that. I think that had a real significant impact in the election. And we saw in Florida, Trump's numbers started to decline after that. So, he's got to show that he can that he can do this. I think it's a different guy in '23 than he was in 2016. I think he was energetic freewheeling back then. I think it was really about America first. Now, I think he's on the teleprompter, most of the stuff he's talking about is about himself and his issues. And that's not the inspiring message that is going to be able to win the day with the American people. But look, I think he should debate and I'm willing to allow him to bring his teleprompter to the debate, if that's what he wants to do, and we will just do it like that. But he should be on that stage in Miami. In subsequent debates, I will be there. Look, we can argue about how these debates have been run. I would run them differently. But the reality is, is I'm going to be there delivering my message. If I have an opportunity to do it to speak directly to the American people. We're going to do it. So, we look forward to being down in Miami on November 8th.

Ron DeSantis, DeSantis Campaign Press Release - ICYMI: Ron DeSantis Holds Virtual Press Conference with Iowa Media Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/367728

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