Trump Florida Fundraiser Over GOP Debate Rivals React

Trump Florida Fundraiser Over GOP Debate: Former President Donald Trump chose to attend a private fundraiser in Florida instead of attending this year’s final GOP primary debate hosted by NewsNation.

Trump’s campaign advertised a chance to win tickets to the “end-of-year reception” in Hallandale Beach, Florida, near Miami.

Leland Vittert spoke with Trump’s 2020 campaign press secretary Hogan Gidley before the debate. He said that if Trump did attend, he’d “suck all the oxygen out of the room.”

“It’s fascinating to watch in politics,” Gidley said. “I’ve been doing this for 25 years, and I’ve never seen somebody with a stranglehold on a movement or on the base like Donald Trump has.”

Trump has previously said that he saw little upside in joining his GOP rivals on stage, given his commanding lead in the race.

“The public knows who I am & what a successful Presidency I had,” Trump wrote on his social media site in August. “I WILL THEREFORE NOT BE DOING THE DEBATES!”

Trump has maintained a sizable lead over the rest of his party. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, businessman Vivek Ramaswamy, and former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie are set to appear on the debate stage at the University of Alabama.

Trump’s absence from the debate sparked criticism from his rivals.

“Get out of your dungeon, get off the keyboard, stand on the debate stage and let’s go. Let’s go do it,” DeSantis challenged Trump on Tuesday.

Trump Florida Fundraiser Over GOP Debate

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However, Trump has maintained continued support from RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel, who told NewsNation’s Connell McShane that she would support any of the GOP’s candidates over President Joe Biden.

“If the voters choose him [Trump], [he] is going to be our nominee and the party will be behind our nominee,” McDaniel said.

DeSantis, who has faced several departures in his political operations in recent weeks, will likely continue to take jabs at Trump as he aims to chip away at the former president’s lead.

“I’m not going to tweet at three in the morning. I’m going to be a leader with his eye on the ball,” DeSantis said.

More than half of Republican caucus voters in Iowa said if the Republican caucuses were held today, Trump would be their first choice, according to the latest Iowa State University survey, while 19 percent chose DeSantis, and 12% said Haley.

Some Iowa polling had DeSantis and Haley tied, as Haley won over voters in recent debates.

Though DeSantis and Haley appear to be the clear front-runners behind Trump, Ramaswamy remains an important wild card in the Republican primaries.

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