Florida governor Ron DeSantis tore into Donald Trump on Wednesday for skipping the second 2024 Republican presidential debate, complaining the former president was “missing in action.”
“Where’s Joe Biden,” he said. “He’s completely missing in action from leadership. You know who else is missing in action? Donald Trump is missing in action. He should be on this stage tonight.”
“He owes it to you to defend his record where they added $7.8 trillion to the debt,” he added. “That set the stage for the inflation we have now.”
The Florida governor wasn’t the only one going after Mr Trump, who made a campaign stop on Wednesday at a non-union auto plant in Michigan instead of attending the second Republican presidential debate at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California.
“Donald Trump hides behind the walls of his golf clubs and won’t show up here to answer questions like all the rest of us are up here to answer,” former New Jersey governor Chris Christie said on the debate stage. “He put $7 trillion on the debt, he should be in this room to answer those questions for the people you talk about who are suffering.”
Later, Mr Christie said he would have to start calling the former president by the cartoon nickname “Donald Duck” if he kept skipping debates.
DeSantis goes in on Trump! "You know who else is missing in action? Donald Trump" pic.twitter.com/rz1c8zvoEL
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) September 28, 2023
“Donald, I know you’re watching,” he said. “You can’t help yourself.”
“You’re afraid of being on this stage and defending your record,” he added.
Earlier this year, Donald Trump announced his intention to avoid the debate stage entirely.
“The public knows who I am & what a successful Presidency I had,” Mr Trump wrote on his Truth Social page in August. “I WILL THEREFORE NOT BE DOING THE DEBATES!”
At his Michigan speech before Drake Enterprises, an automotive manufacturing plant in Clinton Township, Mr Trump railed against electronic vehicles and made false environmental claims about them.
“People have no idea how bad this is going to be for the environment, you know those batteries when they get rid of them, and lots of bad things happen, and when they dig it out of the ground to make them, is going to very bad for the environment,” he claimed.
“Why aren’t these manufacturers making cars that are going to sell and go on long journeys? They want windmills all over the place,” he added. “It is like they are told what to do and go against their industries.”