DeSantis Accepts Ingraham Proposal To Debate Haley
The pitched battle for second place in the GOP presidential primary got hotter Wednesday when Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis accepted a challenge to debate former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley.
With Haley’s recent surge and focus on the looming Iowa caucuses, the two are locked in a struggle behind frontrunning former President Donald Trump.
The challenge came from Fox News commentator Laura Ingraham, who pitched the idea of a one-one-one debate. She offered her program as a platform for the event.
DeSantis already has a debate on his calendar. Later this month he is scheduled to sit with Democratic California Gov. Gavin Newsom for an event hosted by Fox News’ Sean Hannity.
Newsom is not officially running for president, but it is an open secret that he has his eyes set on higher office. Sen. John Fetterman (D-PA) recently quipped that Newsom is indeed seeking the White House but lacks “the guts to announce it.”
Trump has not participated in any of the three GOP debates, citing his insurmountable lead among Republican voters.
This, however, led to a narrowing of the field behind him primarily to two candidates, DeSantis and Haley. The two figured prominently in the most recent GOP forum held in Miami last week, and their verbal attacks largely centered on Washington.
Both very briefly criticized Trump before turning their sights on President Joe Biden.
The Florida governor put part of the blame for Republicans’ poor showing in last week’s elections on the former president. “He said Republicans were gonna get tired of winning,” DeSantis said. “Well, we saw last night — I’m sick of Republicans losing.”
Haley merely said she thought Trump was the “right president at the right time,” but she believes that time has passed.
The former South Carolina governor faulted Biden for pressing Israel for a ceasefire in the aftermath of the deadly Oct. 7 terrorist attacks. She declared “the only thing we should be doing is supporting them and eliminating Hamas.”
DeSantis took it a step further, promising to target foreign students studying in the U.S. who harbor sympathies for terrorists. “If you are here on a student visa as a foreign national and you’re making common cause with Hamas, I’m canceling your visa and I’m sending you home.”
Both DeSantis and Haley, though trailing Trump by wide margins, seek to position themselves as a viable alternative to the former president.