Speaking to unfulfilled promises, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis laid into the former president’s apparent focus on day one and jabbed “he got distracted.”
Two mainstays of former President Donald Trump’s initial White House run were his willingness to directly challenge the narrative of corporate media and the oft-promised construction of a border wall on Mexico’s dime. Having only recently begun to walk back the latter in his third run for the presidency, his leading challenger for the Republican nomination mocked Trump’s priorities following the inauguration in 2017.
Sitting down with undecided Republican caucus-goers in Iowa Friday for KCCI’s “Coffee With The Candidates”, small business owner Jayde Fellom wondered what DeSantis would do differently as president to fulfill the promise of Mexico funding that aspect of border security.
“Yeah, look, I mean, that was one of the most famous campaign promises anyone’s ever made. And now he’s been in Iowa just in the last month saying, well, there was no legal mechanism he could get Mexico to pay,” the governor laid out. “That wasn’t what he said in ’16. I was at those rallies. He was very clear.”
“And he’s also now said that he only promised that Mexico would pay for a piece of the wall. I don’t ever remember him saying that. So he didn’t follow through on it and I think it’s because he got distracted when he got into office,” suggested DeSantis.
“What did he do his first full day in office? He was arguing with the media about the crowd size at his inauguration,” he reminded before pivoting to how his administration would look. “I will be focused and I will be disciplined. And it’s not about me. It’s about you and the issues you care about.”
Meanwhile, as DeSantis made his case that a fee could be imposed on Mexico to secure the funds for the wall that Congress refused to allocate, a look back at Trump’s first full day in office showed that then-White House press secretary Sean Spicer was calling out the media for the coverage of the crowd size at the inauguration.
“Photographs of the inauguration proceedings were intentionally framed in a way, in one particular tweet, to minimize the enormous support that had gathered on the National Mall,” said Spicer to the press. “Inaccurate numbers involving crowd size were also tweeted — no one had numbers.”
“This was the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration — period — both in person and around the globe,” he added.
Another example to the governor’s point came when the president spoke in Sioux City, Iowa near the end of October and said, “So with all those losers out there who say, ‘Trump never got the w-‘ — You remember I used to say Mexico will pay for a piece of the wall. I’ll say what’s gonna happen if they fight, I say the wall gets higher. We all had a lot of fun, but I said Mexico will pay for a piece of the wall. Well, there was no legal instrument to do that.”
With the Iowa voters, DeSantis went on to contend that the focus on the media instead of lasting action on border security supported the ultimate crisis overseen by President Joe Biden. “Had Donald Trump done the border wall, it wouldn’t matter what Biden would do. He would not have been able to let in 8 million illegal aliens. Like, that’s why you want a wall.”
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