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DeSantis commits to first Republican primary debate, regardless of Trump decision

The decision to attend the debate amounts to a commitment to support the eventual party nominee, even should it be former President Donald Trump.

Published: July 7, 2023 7:31pm

Updated: July 7, 2023 8:02pm

Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis has committed to attending the first Republican primary debate, which will occur on Fox News.

"I'll be there regardless. I hope everybody who's eligible comes," he said Thursday on "Fox News Tonight." "I think it's an important part of the process and I look forward to being able to be on the stage and introducing our candidacy and our vision and our leadership to a wide audience."

The decision to attend the debate amounts to a commitment to support the eventual party nominee, even should it be former President Donald Trump, DeSantis's main rival. The Republican National Committee in early June announced that it would require participants to sign a pledge to support the party nominee and agree not to participate in any unsanctioned debates.

The latter condition was possibly a response to rumors that former Fox News host Tucker Carlson and Trump had discussed holding an alternative debate. The RNC also requires donor and polling thresholds. Thus far, Trump, DeSantis, former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott, and tech mogul Vivek Ramaswamy say they've met the requirements to appear on the stage, per Fox.

Trump, for his part, has not committed to attending the Fox debate.

The Florida governor routinely appears as the second-place candidate in the primary contest, but has largely failed to gain ground on Trump since declaring his campaign, even as Trump battles multiple indictments.

Ben Whedon is an editor and reporter for Just the News. Follow him on Twitter.

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