According to The Hill, Florida Governor and Republican presidential hopeful Ron DeSantis criticized former President Trump on social media for suggesting that his decision to debate Hillary Clinton after the release of the “Access Hollywood” tape was braver than soldiers’ experiences on the battlefield. DeSantis responded to a clip from Trump’s speech at the New York Young Republican Club annual gala, stating on X (formerly Twitter), “Trump denigrates military service by claiming it is ‘braver’ that he debated Hillary Clinton than what soldiers endure on the battlefield.”
DeSantis continued by asserting that debating is not an act of bravery but the minimum expected of any candidate. He contrasted this with the act of hiding from debates, which he characterized as an example of cowardice.
In Trump’s speech at the gala, he recounted the 2016 presidential campaign and a general’s purported praise for his bravery in facing the debate stage just days after the release of the controversial “Access Hollywood” tape. Trump claimed the general told him that the bravest thing he had ever seen was Trump going on stage with Clinton despite the controversy.
As the top GOP candidate in the 2024 presidential race, Trump leads by a significant margin in many national polls. DeSantis and former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley are competing closely for second place.
In response to DeSantis’ criticism, a spokesperson for Trump’s campaign accused him of having a “meltdown” and accused him of “regurgitating Democrat talking points.” The spokesperson dismissed DeSantis’ standing in polls and asserted that nothing he had done had changed his low standing with voters. Ron DeSantis also said the following on Twitter:
Trump denigrates military service by claiming it is “braver” that he debated Hillary Clinton than what soldiers endure on the battlefield.
Debating isn’t “brave”; it’s the bare minimum any candidate should do. Hiding from debates, on the other hand, is an example of cowardice. https://t.co/Lik0THOHEN
— Ron DeSantis (@RonDeSantis) December 10, 2023