Falling further behind Donald Trump in the race for the Republican nomination, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is going on the offense against the former president.
Arguing Trump, mired in legal troubles, is not the same candidate he was in 2016, DeSantis believes he is the more electable option.
“I don’t think [Trump] can win the election, I could win the election,” DeSantis told Bill Maher during an appearance last week on the liberal comedian’s HBO show, “Real Time”.
Trump skipped the second GOP debate, where DeSantis and six other candidates took the stage inside the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library.
“He’s not showing up, he’s missing in action,” DeSantis said. “He owes it to voters to show up and defend his record.”
Most polls have Trump leading DeSantis somewhere in the range of 54% to 14%.
The next debate is scheduled for Nov. 8 in Miami with a location to be announced.
The Trump campaign is insisting the debate be canceled, in order for Republicans to focus their resources on President Joe Biden.
“That’s not the way this works,” DeSantis told Fox News. “You gotta earn this.”
Meanwhile, DeSantis has agreed to debate California Gov. Gavin Newsom on Nov. 30. The 90-minute debate will air on Fox News with conservative commentator Sean Hannity serving as moderator.