Republican presidential candidate and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis torched former President Donald Trump for refusing to sign the GOP candidate pledge to support the eventual nominee.
While talking to reporters in Iowa, DeSantis blasted the former president for refusing to sign the required pledge to punch his ticket to the debate stage.
DeSantis noted that he signed the pledge, officially qualifying for the debate by doing so, and jabbed at Trump for running in the GOP field but saying he may not support the eventual nominee.
“I mean you can’t, on the one hand, say that the country’s going in such a bad direction, which we all believe, and then, on the other hand, say you’re just going to take your ball and go home,” DeSantis said.
“Really? So, you know, I’m happy to do that. I’ve voted Republican my whole life,” the Florida governor said. “And, you know, even though, you know, I’m confident we’ll be the nominee, at the end of the day, you know, you respect the judgment of how this works out, and you don’t take your ball and go home.”
“It’s not just about you. It’s about a larger mission that we have to accomplish for Americans,” he added.
Fox News Digital reached out to the Trump campaign for comment, but did not immediately receive a response.
The former president said he is refusing to sign a loyalty pledge to the Republican Party, raising doubts about whether he will be debating fellow GOP candidates.
Trump dismissed the idea of making the pledge in an interview with Newsmax on Wednesday, telling “Eric Bolling The Balance” that the gesture would not be worth it.
“I wouldn’t sign the pledge,” Trump said. “Why would I sign a pledge if there are people on there that I wouldn’t have?”
“I wouldn’t have certain people as, you know, somebody that I endorse. So they want you to sign a pledge,” the former president said of the candidate field. “I can name three or four people that I wouldn’t support for president. So right there, there’s a problem right there. There’s a problem.”
Trump took particular issue with the low bar for entry into the Republican debate regarding polling percentage and national support.
The former president said he would not want to give unpopular candidates with only a percentage of the vote a chance to say “nasty” things about him.
“You look at the debate, and they want you to debate, but you’re debating — it’s not really fair — somebody like Asa Hutchinson, who’s polling at zero percent, will ask me nasty questions,” Trump said. “Somebody like Chris Christie is falling at 1%, and he’s going to ask me nasty questions and others, too.”
Trump also cited decisions by previous Republican Presidents Ronald Reagan and Richard Nixon to skip primary debates.
Historically, political parties have avoided holding presidential primary elections if they are already in control of the White House.
However, Trump is not currently president, meaning the GOP primary election is on.
Fox News Digital’s Timothy H.J. Nerozzi contributed to this report.
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