In an interview, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis addressed a leaked strategy memo which he had issued to his staff ahead of the first Republican presidential primary debate. DeSantis, who had not previously commented on the memo, said he was aware it had been leaked but that it “gives a good indication of what our strategy is.”
He then went on to say that during the debate he will be looking to “punch back” at his opponents’ attacks against him. DeSantis said that he does not want to come across as a “pushover” and he plans to “defend his record,” including his handling of the coronavirus pandemic in his home state. He also indicated he planned to use the debate to draw contrasts between himself and the other candidates on a host of topics, including health care and immigration policy.
At the same time, DeSantis said he was aware of the criticism he has faced from many within the Republican Party and emphasized that he was “willing to listen and learn” from his fellow candidates. He also suggested that his opponents should “be mindful” of their own records and stances when attacking him during the debate.
Overall, DeSantis seems to understand the importance of the first Republican primary debate and is fully prepared to respond to any criticisms that might arise. He expressed his commitment to defending his record while also showing a willingness to engage in a constructive dialogue about the issues. This dual strategy likely signals his confidence in his candidacy and his ability to win the support of Republican voters in the primaries.