Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis: ‘We need somebody that can lead’

Author: CBS NEWS
Published: Updated:
FILE – Republican presidential candidate Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks during a campaign event, Tuesday, May 30, 2023, in Clive, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall, File)

MIAMI — Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said he’s ready to present his vision for the country during the third and final Republican primary presidential debate being held in Hialeah.

The governor made his comments to CBS News Miami while arriving at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, which is hosting the event at 8 p.m. 

“We have a little bit fewer people so hopefully we’ll get more time to talk about what’s going on,” DeSantis said. “I think it will be a good debate; it seems like it’s a good setup.”

At least 1,700 people are expected to attend the event inside the Knight Concert Hall, at 1300 Biscayne Boulevard. In addition to DeSantis, the candidates that will take the stage are former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, former U.N. Ambassador and South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott and businessman Vivek Ramaswamy.

Foreign policy and the Israel-Hamas war are expected to be prominent during the primary debate, as the narrowing field of candidates seeks to cut into Donald Trump’s lead without being able to challenge the former president in person. 

Trump has scheduled a competing rally that will be held in Hialeah with the former president expected to take his stage around 7 p.m.

DeSantis has struggled to break out of Trump’s shadow although he has been regarded previously as the best Republian who could mount the most serious challenge to the former president.

DeSantis did not mention Trump during his brief remarks to CBS News Miami but said the one point he wants to project during the debate was the need for leadership.

“We need to reverse the decline of this country (and) we need somebody that can lead,” he said. “We have a deficit of leadership right now and I’ll be the guy to get that done.”

With voting set to start in leadoff Iowa in January, no one has thus far been able to shake Trump’s dominance of the Republican primary. Many of the candidates have gone after each other hoping to break out as a viable alternative to the former president, emphasizing their differences on foreign policy but also ripping Trump for his criticisms of the Israeli prime minister and claims that a group attacking Israel was “very smart.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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