DeSantis Flexes, Calls on Trump to Debate Him

DeSantis Flexes, Calls on Trump to Debate Him

Javier Manjarres
Javier Manjarres
July 13, 2023

On August 23, all eyes will be fixated on Milwaukee, Wisconsin where the first Republican 2024 presidential primary debate will take place between Governor Ron DeSantis, Sen. Tim Scott, Fmr. Gov. Chris Christie, Nikkie Haley, Fmr. VP Mike Pence, and others, and maybe even former President Donald Trump.

President Trump has signaled that he may skip the Fox News debate and possibly the second debate at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, so the much anticipated mano-a-mano debate between the two men may not happen.

Because President Trump may skip the debates, Gov. DeSantis is calling him out for it, and rightfully so.

This week, Gov. DeSantis stated that  "nobody's entitled to this nomination,” adding that Trump needs to earn the support before getting the Republican nomination for President of the United States.

"You have got to earn the nomination, and doing things like the Family Leader event in Iowa, doing things like these debates, they’re important parts of the process," said DeSantis.

DeSantis, whose campaign appears to have stalled according to all of the latest 2024 GOP presidential primary polls continued, calling on Trump to man up, or “step up” and debate him.

"The idea that he’s just entitled after that, it just doesn’t make any sense. So he should debate. He should go to all these things, and see if he can earn it with his vision," DeSantis said. "I think people need, every candidate needs to be put to the test, and I think he needs to step up and do it."

American voters and the legacy media, especially the media, are looking forward to an all-out stage brawl between DeSantis and Trump.

If Trump does attend the debates, expect nothing less than a bare-knuckles debate.

But while DeSantis is openly calling on Trump to debate him, he better know what he is asking for.

President Donald Trump
President Donald Trump

We all saw how in the 2016 Republican primary debates Trump ate everyone’s lunch, dressing down four of the most seasoned political debaters—Sens. Rand Paul, Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, and Gov. Jeb Bush.

Those debates were brutal. People tuned in to the debates to hear and see Trump kick his opponents in the groin (politically speaking) and make fun of their appearances and their "low energy."

It’s just how it was back then. It wasn't about substance or where the stood on issues, it was about who came of as the most relatable, and swung the biggest bat.

Trump will be the target. Gov. Christie, who Trump has poked fun at for being overweight, could serve as the main antagonist.

The problem that all of the candidates, minus Trump, have is that they all need to walk on eggshells and not offend the MAGA base.

If they go after Trump, like Gov. Christie has, they are screwed.

DeSantis could draw a contrast between him and Trump in dealing with the COVID pandemic, but to date, DeSantis has been running on just about every issue that Trump championed.

Expect Trump to remind DeSantis about that, and that if it wasn’t for him, he would not be Governor of Florida.

DeSantis would be smart to acknowledge Trump’s endorsement and thank him for it, before reminding the former president that since he became governor in 2018, he has become “America’s Governor” all by himself.

DeSantis's Messaging

The problem DeSantis may have (is having on the stump) is that he is not being himself and not related to everyday Americans.

When DeSantis is himself, regardless of the setting, the jovial  and very personable DeSantis comes out.

Lately, and even as far as his 2022 gubernatorial debate with former Rep. Charlie Crist, DeSantis has come off as trying to be someone he is not, and it shows.

His debate with Crist was one of DeSantis worst public performances.

If he is to stand a chance at taking on the incoming fire that Trump will pelt him with, and not come off frustrated or let Trump get under his skin, DeSantis needs to just be himself, take the punches, and counter with a personal and pro-America message that he has yet to deliver.

The current message DeSantis is stumping with is tired. There are only so many times voters can take hearing, “In Florida we…”

While DeSantis needs to introduce himself to voters, Trump really doesn’t, but he does need to reaffirm to them a third time is the charm, and that they can trust him to pick up where he left off in 2020.

But, if he skips debates, it could appear as if Trump does not want to face DeSantis, and maybe is a bit afraid of him.

That doesn’t sound like Trump, but DeSantis is very sharp and could give the former President more than he bargained for.

These debates could make or break several of these presidential campaigns. Trump doesn't really need to show up DeSantis, but DeSantis need to show voters and donors that he is up to the task, and is the viable alternative to Trump.

The Fox News Channel and Fox Business Network will broadcast the debate and veteran news anchors Bret Baier and Martha McCallum will be co-moderating it.

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Javier Manjarres

Javier Manjarres

Javier Manjarres is a nationally renowned award-winning political journalist and Publisher of,,, and He enjoys traveling, playing soccer, mixed martial arts, weight-lifting, swimming, and biking. Javier is also a political consultant and has also authored "BROWN PEOPLE," which is a book about Hispanic Politics. Follow on Twitter: @JavManjarres Email him at

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