Former President Donald Trump decided to again skip the GOP debate, offering instead to speak at one of his rallies.
Trump held his rally not so far away from the debate stage – speaking before a crowd in Hialeah, Florida. It began with an endorsement from Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee-Sanders before the former president stepped out. Like previous debates, Trump made sure to mention his absence and dismissed the event as “unwatchable.”
But that doesn’t mean Trump avoided his potential Republican contenders. He took shots at his rivals, particularly Ron DeSantis. Trump knowingly mocked the Florida governor in his state, continuing to purport the idea that DeSantis was a traitor and a bad fit for America.
As usual, the former president also laid out his plan to reverse many of President Joe Biden’s decisions and restore American power and honor. He acknowledged and blasted the mountain of indictments against him as attempts to go after the average American voter. With this in mind, he said he wears these attacks as “a great badge of honor.”
Trump retains his sizable lead over his 2024 rivals according to multiple polls. But a conflicting report came out of CNN showing his influence may be waning. In a post-debate interview, CNN asked a group of 13 attendees if they would caucus for Trump. Twelve members of this group had done so previously but only two raised their hands.
That interview also showed that Republican voters are generally split on who the presidential nominee would be. The bigger, unanswered question is: can Trump get people on his side again if the nomination comes down to him and one other candidate? With this question, we’ll have to wait until we get closer to the Iowa Caucuses, which are slated for Jan. 15.