Republican presidential hopeful Ron DeSantis showcased a more dynamic side during a New Hampshire town hall on December 15.
The Florida governor, previously critiqued for a lack of charisma, appeared to connect well with the audience, presenting an assertive stance against both President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump.
DeSantis’s remarks were a response to critiques about his perceived passivity in confronting major political rivals.
Direct Attacks on Trump’s Record
DeSantis criticized Trump’s presidential tenure, highlighting his unsuccessful cabinet selections and the challenges Trump might face in forming a cabinet if re-elected due to legal issues surrounding his previous administration.
He pinpointed unfulfilled promises from Trump’s presidency, like the failure to fully construct the border wall and the unachieved goal to “drain the swamp.”
DeSantis also accused Trump of not firmly opposing certain ideologies and pressing cultural issues, quoting Trump’s unclear stance.
Lame Duck Status and Election Skepticism
Further critiquing Trump, DeSantis pointed out the disadvantage of Trump potentially being a lame-duck president from day one, as he can’t serve two consecutive terms. “He’d be a lame duck on day one because could not serve two consecutive terms” DeSantis stated.
He also preemptively criticized Trump’s likely reaction to losing early primaries, saying, “If Trump loses, he will say it’s stolen, no matter what. Absolutely. He will try to delegitimize the results.”
Jabs at Biden and a G-rated White House
DeSantis didn’t spare President Biden from his criticism, humorously contrasting his own son with Biden’s son Hunter. “The only thing you’re gonna have to worry about my kids bringing back to the White House is homework and not cocaine,” he quipped, ensuring a “G-rated White House” under his administration.
He also called for more transparency from elected officials, specifically mentioning the Jeffrey Epstein case, criticizing both Trump and Biden for their lack of action in this regard.
Local Support for DeSantis
New Hampshire Senator Regina Birdsell expressed strong support for DeSantis, impressed by his “rock solid” speech.
As a veteran, she resonates with DeSantis’s military background and his stance against Chinese land purchases in the U.S. Beth Schaer of Nashua, an ex-Trump supporter, praised DeSantis for his potential to control national debt, calling him “the real deal.”
Even current Trump supporters, like Liz Barbour, acknowledged DeSantis’s emerging appeal, citing his track record and plan for national recovery.
Youth and Policy Proposals
DeSantis, at 45, brings youthful energy to his campaign, a stark contrast to the older Trump. He used his personal experience with student loans to connect with the public, opposing taxpayer-funded loan forgiveness and proposing strict ethics reforms for Congress, including bans on stock trades and extravagant pensions.
“I don’t think members of Congress should be able to do the stock trades because they literally make inside information, leveraging the office to be able to make money where you as an American would not be able to do that.
So I would say you ban that,” DeSantis asserted, emphasizing his commitment to avoiding conflicts of interest by selling his stocks when he became governor.