While former President Donald Trump continues to maintain his seemingly insurmountable lead over the rest of the 2024 Republican primary field, two of his rivals are engaged in a battle for a distant second place.
Fox News Channel personality Laura Ingraham recently suggested that the two Trump challengers — former United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis — should engage in a debate, volunteering to host such an event during her own prime-time program.
“I’d like to see Ron DeSantis versus Nikki Haley,” she said during a recent segment. “‘The Angle’ volunteers our show as a platform. And the two of them, I think, need to debate it out. That’s what we need to see at this point. And I think America would like to see that as well. And we’re offering ‘The Angle’ to do that.”
For his part, DeSantis expressed an eager willingness to debate Haley one-on-one.
Count me in! https://t.co/B9s5fpiuJL
— Ron DeSantis (@RonDeSantis) November 15, 2023
It was not the first time he agreed to a Fox News-hosted debate outside of the regularly scheduled slate of GOP primary debates. Later this month, he is scheduled to face off against Democratic California Gov. Gavin Newsom during “Hannity,” with host Sean Hannity serving as moderator.
Although the Florida governor is not campaigning directly against his California counterpart, he has seized on the policy differences between them in an effort to make the case to voters.
“Decline is a choice and success is attainable,” DeSantis asserted in September. “As President, I will lead America’s revival. I look forward to the opportunity to debate Gavin Newsom over our very different visions for the future of our country.”
Haley did not immediately accept the invitation as her campaign continues to duke it out with the DeSantis camp ahead of the upcoming Iowa caucuses. Her standings in the polls have improved as support for DeSantis has waned in recent weeks, but the Florida governor’s team has long indicated the belief that Iowa presents his best opportunity to gain ground.
GOP Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds recently endorsed DeSantis, whose campaign asserted that it is “confident the Iowa voters will see who will represent them and their values.”