Ron DeSantis Seems to Want Some Awkward Eye Contact With Trump

The Florida Governor dodged a debate question on abortion, and it seemed to get a little personal.

Ron DeSantis Seems to Want Some Awkward Eye Contact With Trump
Photo:Getty (Getty Images)

During the messy second Republican presidential debate on Wednesday night, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) nearly disintegrated while answering a question about abortion. Perhaps that’s because his campaign is on life support and the question came more than one hour and 45 minutes into the debate. But really, who’s to say? Anyway, his answer made it sound like he desperately wants former President Donald Trump to stare into his eyes.

Moderator Dana Perino noted before the debate was nearly done that the 2024 election could come down to a few swing states and pointed out that Republicans lost all six times abortion was on the ballot in 2022. “Next year, abortion will likely be on the ballot in Arizona. That is a must-win state,” Perino asked DeSantis. “How are you going to win over independent, pro-choice voters in Arizona?” And DeSantis appeared close to malfunctioning since he can’t actually win over anyone who is voting for abortion rights.

Watch him grimace and force a smile as she asks the question:

Once he regained control of his face, DeSantis claimed he’d win the same way he won Florida, which includes when he won the more liberal areas like Miami-Dade County. Then he pivoted to call out Trump for saying in a recent interview that the six-week abortion ban DeSantis signed was “a terrible thing and a terrible mistake,” in addition to other comments Trump made about abortion being the reason the party is losing elections.

But because he is Ron DeSantis, he got weird about it and acted like Trump personally owed him an apology or, at the very least, a longing gaze.

“I reject this idea that pro-lifers are to blame for midterm defeats. I think there’s other reasons for that. The former president, he’s missing in action tonight, he’s had a lot to say about that,” DeSantis said. “He should be here explaining his comments to try to say that pro-life protections are somehow a terrible thing. I want him to look into the eyes and tell [that to] people who’ve been fighting this fight for a long time.”

If I didn’t know better, I’d think Ron’s fee fees are hurt, and that he just wants someone to look in his eyes. But it’s much more likely that he’s sucking up to influential anti-abortion groups whose endorsement he needs if he has any hope of winning the nomination. Trump doesn’t actually care about abortion policy, he just wants to win and the anti-abortion activists have been critical of him for this reason. If the groups endorse DeSantis for being the best anti-abortion psycho in the race, it could potentially resuscitate his flagging campaign.

Overall, the debate really felt like the interview for second place. The seven candidates on the stage have the combined support of 36 percent of Republican primary voters in a national polling average—which is still 20 points behind Trump. So DeSantis knows he has to do something.

Last time at the circus, in late August, DeSantis told a bizarre story about a fetus in a pan in an attempt to paint Democrats as extreme. But it was actually a tale about the fallout of a coat-hanger abortion—meaning the story shows the lengths desperate people will go in order to end a pregnancy in the face of restrictive laws.

Can’t wait to see what fresh weird hell awaits us in the third debate, set for November 8. Mark your cals (so you can throw your phone into the sea).

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