Florida Republican Governor Ron DeSantis was mocked online after TheNew York Times published his campaign's leaked debate memo, drawing attention to the memo's "defend Donald Trump" bullet point.
The outlined plan entails a four-part strategy for how to win the August 23rd GOP debate:
- Attack Joe Biden and the media 3-5 times.
- State [DeSantis]' positive vision 2-3 times.
- Hammer Vivek Ramaswamy in a response.
- Defend Donald Trump in absentia in response to a Chris Christie attack.
The memo further suggests how DeSantis should respond if challenged on Trump by Chris Christie, advising him to avoid criticism and instead offer a defense of the former President.
As of now, Trump holds a substantial lead among GOP voters, with 54.7 percent support, while DeSantis trails at a distant second, garnering less than 15 percent of the vote, according to RealClearPolitics.
Given this glaring disparity, it would appear imperative for DeSantis to make a strategic move to challenge Trump's supremacy. However, the documents from DeSantis' debate preparation indicate a contrasting approach.
DeSantis' decision to protect the very figure standing in his way of the nomination was mocked online as people pointed out how it was shortsighted and contradictory to his presidential aspirations.
New York Republican Representative Elise Stefanik later seized on the memo to pressure DeSantis to drop out of the 2024 presidential race.
Stefanik—a fervent Trump supporter—said "the first and most obvious rule of debate prep is don’t leak the debate prep memo," suggesting the DeSantis campaign had displayed gross incompetence.
She called the leaked memo "absolute malpractice" and stood behind Trump, saying he "is going to steamroll the entire field."