A voter in Iowa pressed Republican presidential candidate Ron DeSantis on Wednesday over why he hasn’t directly “gone after” former President Trump, citing DeSantis’s falling poll numbers.
The voter, in the audience of a campaign stop in Waukee, Iowa on Wednesday, asked DeSantis, “One, why haven’t you gone directly after him [Trump]? Your polls are down. He’s up really–”
DeSantis, also the governor of Florida interjected, “What do you mean by going directly after?”
“In my viewpoint, you’ve gone pretty soft on him,” the voter replied.
“I articulate all the differences time and time again on the campaign trail,” DeSantis shot back. “…There’s just a narrative…I think the narrative is this — what the media wants is they want Republican candidates to just kind of smear him personally and kind of do that. That’s just not how I roll.”
The voter interrupted with multiple “nos” to indicate this is not what he implied before pointing to Trump’s criticism of Carly Fiorina, who he once called horse face.
“I mean, the guys [Trump] has no class in a lot of ways,” the voter said.
The exchange was captured by Washington Post reporter Hannah Knowles, who posted a video of the conversation to X, formerly Twitter.
DeSantis, along with some of his rivals in the GOP primary race, has faced criticism over what some perceive as not strong enough attacks on Trump, who maintains a comfortable lead in the GOP primary polls.
DeSantis has struggled to make a significant dent in Trump’s lead and recently saw his second place standing in the race threatened by the surge of former United Nations ambassador Nikki Haley.
Trump has garnered an estimated 64.1 percent of the national GOP primary vote, a nearly 53-point lead over Haley, who has 11.3 percent and DeSantis not far behind with 11 percent, according to The Hill/Decision Desk’s polling index.
When it comes to general election polling, Trump and President Biden remain virtually in a dead heat, though Trump appears to be taking a slight lead in some recent surveys. The Hill/Decision Desk’s polling index found Trump has a 1.2 percent lead over Biden — 44.1 percent to 43.1 percent.
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