DeSantis slams Trump and other takeaways from 2 CNN town halls

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Here are six takeaways from Thursday’s back-to-back town halls:

DeSantis said Trump was not “pro-life”

DeSantis’ attacks on Trump’s stance on abortion and his promises of a second term were among the most aggressive of the night. Trump named the decisive judges who overturned Roe v. WadeSupreme Court decision that previously established abortion rights nationwide, and abortion advocates often called him the “most pro-life president in history” when he was in office.

But DeSantis raised the fact that Trump called Florida’s six-week abortion ban, passed by the GOP-led Legislature and signed into law by the governor, “a terrible thing.” Florida’s six-week ban has not yet taken effect while the state Supreme Court is reviewing another ban. Notably, Iowa has a similar abortion restriction.

At one point, DeSantis spread his hands and said, “Of course not!” when moderator Kaitlan Collins asked her if she thought Trump was “pro-life.”

“He has changed his mind on this issue,” DeSantis said. “I don’t know if it’s for political convenience or if it’s what he always believed in.”

Mass shooting in Iowa did not dominate town halls

Both Haley and DeSantis were asked about gun policy in the wake of
a mass shooting
at a rural Iowa school that same day, in which a sixth-grade boy was killed and five others were injured. But the topic did not dominate the evening.

DeSantis, who has relaxed gun laws in Florida and said he does not support federal restrictions on firearms, focused on identifying people who show signs of dangerous behavior or mental health problems.

“When you send your kids to school, you want to focus on academics and activities,” he said. “Physical security should not be an issue in our schools. And parents should have confidence in that.”

The shooting also did not alter his stance in favor of gun rights. DeSantis stated that background checks should be “instant” and indicated that he would support eliminating the three-day waiting period in Florida.

For her part, Haley also called for greater safety in schools and a greater focus on mental health, saying: “We have to deal with the cancer that is mental health… What we see is that 80 percent of “Mass shooters are in some kind of crisis the moment they do that.”

Haley praised Abbott on immigration, but not DeSantis

Haley avoided giving credit to DeSantis for his handling of immigration issues, while praising Republican Texas Gov. Greg Abbott when asked if he supports red-state governors busing immigrants to cities. blue cities.

After a setup that included both Abbott, who has bussed tens of thousands of migrants to cities like Chicago and New York, and DeSantis, who has flown dozens of migrants to the island of Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts and Sacramento, California, Haley was asked if she supports DeSantis’ ploy.

“Well, I’ll talk about Governor Abbott, because I think he was brave. He was the first to do it,” Haley said, completely ignoring DeSantis’ role in sending migrants from the southern border to so-called sanctuary cities to the north.

“If the president doesn’t protect and provide security for the people of Texas, a governor is tasked with protecting his citizens,” Haley said, later adding, “I think it’s been enormously effective because all of a sudden the rest of the “The country is feeling what Texans have been facing for so long.”

Haley’s Civil War mistake still haunts her

More than a week after initially refusing to say slavery was a cause of the Civil War, Haley continues to come under pressure to clarify her comments, both from her rivals and journalists, but less so from voters.

Haley was asked to respond to rival Chris Christie’s statement.
He left slavery out of his response to a questioner at City Hall.
at the end of December because “she is not willing to offend anyone by telling the truth.”

“No one has ever said that I have not been willing to offend. “I’ve offended a lot of people because I call them out when they do something wrong,” Haley began, before addressing the real issue at hand.

“I was thinking about beyond slavery and talking about the lesson we would learn in the future. She shouldn’t have done that. “I should have said slavery,” the former South Carolina governor said. “But in my opinion it is a fact that everyone associates the Civil War with slavery.”

While Haley’s omission is giving oxygen to her rivals and fueling an extended news cycle that she can’t seem to escape, the mistake wasn’t the most important thing for voters who came to see her on the campaign trail in New Hampshire this week. earlier this week. Some have even
dismissed the consequences of Haley’s comment as exaggerated

Your cleanup didn’t end there.

haley also She had to answer for her campaign comment Wednesday that New Hampshire voters will “correct” the outcome of the Iowa caucuses, a comment she said was said in jest but that drew a quick rebuke from Iowa’s governor. , Kim Reynolds (who supports DeSantis). and Christie, who accused Haley on Thursday of “pandering[ing]”to his audience.

“You’ve got to have some fun,” Haley argued. The first few states, “we joke with each other about different things. New Hampshire makes fun of Iowa, Iowa makes fun of South Carolina, that’s what we do. “I think the problem in politics now is that it is too serious and too dramatic.”

And he dismissed a question from moderator Erin Burnett about whether his comment indicated a lack of confidence in how he would perform in the caucuses unlike in New Hampshire, where he rose in the polls with the backing of that state’s popular governor, Chris Sununu.

DeSantis used a prop to attack Haley

In one of the rare instances in which DeSantis interacted with Haley, he opened his town hall by giving Collins a basketball jersey.
making fun of the way Haley mixed up Collins’ name
with that of Iowa Hawkeyes basketball superstar Caitlin Clark.

“I heard someone say the other day that Kaitlan Collins has some basketball skills,” he said. “Now, I don’t know if that was a mistake or not, but I know they have a Caitlin Clark in Iowa. So I just want to leave you this as a memory.”

The clip of Haley’s confusion went viral over the weekend. The reference showed that DeSantis was well aware that, although she was at a nationally televised event, Iowans were her audience.

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