WEST DES MOINES, Iowa — Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis drew a sharp contrast between himself and Donald Trump after the former president recently quipped that he would benefit from the economy crashing.
Without referencing Trump by name, DeSantis insisted he wanted the nation’s economy to flourish despite the former president banking on financial failure.
“I don’t want the economy to crash because people’s livelihoods depend on it,” DeSantis told reporters Tuesday when asked about Trump’s remarks during a brief gaggle after his Fox News town hall.
“If the economy crashes, people would get thrown out of work, businesses would go under. I don’t want to see that happening. I want people to do well. That’s what we’ve done in Florida.”
Trump mused about what a faltering economy could do for him politically in an interview that aired Monday.
“When there’s a crash, I hope it’s going to be during this next 12 months because I don’t want to be Herbert Hoover. The one president – I just don’t want to be Herbert Hoover,” Trump told Lindell TV.
President Biden has sought to capitalize on his economic records and tout so-called “Bidenomics” at campaign events, highlighting low unemployment and declining inflation.
Republicans, including both Trump and DeSantis, have panned his record and blamed Biden for the rampant inflation that ravaged the middle class early on in Biden’s administration.
During the brief presser, DeSantis also touched on some issues that came up during his town hall with Iowa voters.
He downplayed concerns about alienating would-be voters of his who are amenable to Trump, suggesting the 45th president has too much baggage to win the general.
“Remember the midterm results in 2022. We had the most favorable conditions as Republicans for a midterm, probably in my lifetime,” DeSantis said.
“There’s a lot of people that want to vote for Republicans. But I think that there’s a lot that are not going to do the Trump stuff,” he went on.
When asked whether he backs expanded access to contraception, DeSantis explained that he would make it available without a prescription.
“We think it should be over the counter. I don’t think you should need a prescription. And in Florida — the Florida Department of Health, we do contraception for about over 100,000 people a year,” DeSantis replied.
He is set to square off with former South Carolina governor and US ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley during the CNN debate on Wednesday.
During the presser, DeSantis ripped her closing message that she’s the most electable presidential aspirant.
“You don’t win as a Republican when you don’t stand for anything. You got to have core convictions,” he stressed. “She ran for reelection in one of the reddest states in the country, South Carolina in 2014 in a huge Republican year.”
“She underperformed almost every Republican on the ballot people like Tim Scott — significantly so,” he continued, juxtaposing his reelection in Florida in the 2022 cycle.
DeSantis was flanked by Bob Vander Plaats, a prominent Iowa Christian evangelical leader, and Rep. Chip Roy (R-Tx.), both of whom endorsed him.
The kickoff 2024 Republican Iowa caucuses is slated for next Monday.