DeSantis on debate stage

GOP White House hopeful Ron DeSantis praised the moderators for a “good job” on the third Republican presidential primary debate in a veiled shot at Fox Business which was criticized after the last event turned into a nasty free-for-all.

The Florida governor sat down with NBC News following Wednesday’s debate – which was shunned by frontrunner Donald J. Trump – and offered up kind words for the team of the network’s anchor Lester Holt, new “Meet the Press” host Kristen Welker, and conservative talk radio host Hugh Hewitt.

(Video: Grabien)

“I think we did really well and I think NBC did a good job,” the governor told NBC’s Tom Llamas when asked about the debate as well as Trump’s notable absence from the stage at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts in Miami.

“I mean, I have watched debates over the years, I’ve participated in a couple already, and I think the people at home probably got a good viewing experience because the questions were substantive, people were able to talk, there wasn’t a lot of screaming back and forth, and so I think the value of this debate was probably more than the one we did in Simi Valley.”

“Look, Donald Trump is not the same guy he was in 2016. You would not have been able to keep him off that stage in 2016, the consultants wouldn’t have been able to do that,” DeSantis continued. “Now, they don’t want him up on the stage. When he gives speeches, it’s usually off the teleprompter, and I think his view is like, well, he has a polling lead, therefore, why would he want to get involved and actually earn the job? But that’s not the way this goes.”

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“So what I think you’re going to see, because I’m on the ground in the early states,” he added. “Voters are now starting to really pay attention. It is going to hurt him if he’s not willing to debate going forward because voters expect you to earn their vote. And if you look at his support, he’s got some that are rock solid, he probably doesn’t have to debate. But other supporters of his are willing to go for another candidate.”

The former president skipped the debate, choosing instead to hold a rally in nearby Hialeah, FL.

While there were a number of lively exchanges between candidates, including a savage smackdown of Vivek Ramaswamy by former South Carolina governor Nikki Haley who called him “scum” after he brought up her daughter and TikTok, the moderators did a much better job of maintaining order than the team of Fox News host Dana Perino, Fox Business host Stuart Varney and Univision anchor Ilia Calderón at the September debate at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library & Museum in Simi Valley, CA.

For some reason, the network decided to include the far-left Calderón as a moderator and she showed her ideological bias when she parroted VP Kamala Harris’s big lie about Florida’s new history teaching standards in an ambush of DeSantis that backfired.

Outrageously biased question from Univision’s Ilia Calderon to DeSantis: “Florida’s new black history curriculum says ‘slaves developed skill which, in some instances, could be applied for their personal benefit’. You have said slaves developed skills in spite of slavery, not… — Curtis Houck (@CurtisHouck) September 28, 2023

It was a flaming, triple-decker whopper of a hoax, but the Univision anchor served it up anyway only to have it flung back in her face by DeSantis.

.@RonDeSantis on the lie perpetuated on the left and right that FL says slavery was beneficial: “First of all, that’s a hoax that was perpetrated by Kamala Harris. We’re not going to be doing that. Second of all, that was written by descendants of slaves. These are great black… — Curtis Houck (@CurtisHouck) September 28, 2023

The fourth GOP debate is set to take place next month in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.