Ron DeSantis is still chasing Donald Trump in presidential polls (from quite a ways behind), and it looks like a recent trip to California for the second Republican presidential primary debate did little to help him out. But someone who didn’t even make the trip was former President Donald Trump, who has declined to engage with other contenders thanks to how far ahead he remains.
“I think that, with all due respect to Donald Trump, we’re not going to beat the Democrats by adopting Joe Biden’s basement strategy,” DeSantis said, citing the repeated Republican claim that Biden hides in his basement — the idea began when Biden did interviews from his home while running for president during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“You can’t just be missing in action,” DeSantis said. “You’ve got to show up, you’ve got to earn people’s votes, and if you’re not willing to do that, voters will take notice as we get closer to these contests.”
After Fox News’ Maria Bartiromo pointed out Trump’s “commanding lead” over the rest of the GOP field Sunday morning, she asked DeSantis about his trip and “Gavin Newsom’s California.” He described the state as the “petri dish of American leftism” and warned that Biden will “impose California policies” on the rest of the United States.
“They are absolutely crushing working people in California,” DeSantis said. “I saw gas for $7 a gallon for regular unleaded in parts of California. They have some of the highest, if not the highest, taxes in the United States, and that hits middle-income people with high sales taxes and high income tax … that’s why you’ve seen California lose population under this governor in the first time in the entire state’s history.”
DeSantis also insisted that a lot of people are leaving California to move to his home state of Florida — and that those new residents are “disaffected from the policies” of The Golden State.
The governor went on to insist California is “getting all the big things wrong” and that this is something the rest of the United States should be worried about if Biden (or Harris, or Newsom) wins the election in 2024.
“California’s a few years ahead of where the left would want to go,” DeSantis explained. “So a second Biden term — or heaven forbid, a Harris or Newsom — they are going to try to impose California policies across the entire country.”
“That would facilitate an even more rapid decline of this country,” the governor concluded.
Bartiromo also mentioned Donald Trump’s recent claim that the rest of the GOP presidential field is actually auditioning for roles in his government, whether by way of a cabinet position or as his vice president, and asked DeSantis if he would join Trump’s ticket if asked.
His answer was concise: “No, I’m running for president.” He added, “We need somebody that can serve two terms,” taking a shot at Trump. He also pointed out states that Trump failed to win while running for president that had been won by previous Republican candidates.
Watch the interview with Bartiromo and DeSantis in the video above.