Ronald vs. Donald: DeSantis and Trump Try to Out-MAGA Each Other in Iowa

Ahead of Donald Trump and Ron DeSantis’s competing events in Iowa this weekend, DNC National Press Secretary Sarafina Chitika released the following statement:

“Donald Trump and Ron DeSantis are desperately trying to out-MAGA each other with incredibly unpopular and dangerous agendas that would devastate hardworking families in Iowa and all over the country. Ronald and Donald spent years as each other’s biggest cheerleaders — now they are lacing up their clown shoes, competing to see which of them can wreak more havoc on American families by undermining affordable health care access, banning abortion nationwide, ending Social Security and Medicare as we know them, and reviving Trump’s failed Muslim travel ban. At the end of the day, Trump and DeSantis are running on the same anti-freedom MAGA agenda voters have rejected again and again — and it will cause their downfall next year.”

Trump and DeSantis have both spent years supporting MAGA Republicans’ efforts to rip away health care coverage from millions of Americans — with Trump just this week saying MAGA Republicans “should never give up” in their efforts to “terminate” the Affordable Care Act. 

Daily Beast: “Trump Revives Plan to Dismantle Obamacare if Elected in 2024”

Trump: “The cost of Obamacare is out of control, plus, it’s not good Healthcare. I’m seriously looking at alternatives. We had a couple of Republican Senators who campaigned for 6 years against it, and then raised their hands not to terminate it. It was a low point for the Republican Party, but we should never give up!”

Mediaite: “‘OBAMACARE SUCKS!!!’ Trump Rants About New Plan — Years After He Promised It Was ‘Two Weeks’ Away”

DeSantis: “We must repeal ObamaCare. … I have no desire to ‘improve’ or ‘reform’ ObamaCare. I intend to repeal it.” 

DeSantis: “Obamacare should never have been passed.”

DeSantis: “The full and complete repeal of ObamaCare is one of the most critical issues of our time.”

Tampa Bay Times: “When he was soliciting Republican votes in the GOP primary, the front page of DeSantis’ site highlighted how he ‘led efforts’ to ‘repeal ObamaCare.’”

HuffPost: “As a Republican serving in the U.S. House, [DeSantis] was part of a far-right caucus that voted against the first ACA repeal bill that leadership brought to the floor because, DeSantis and his allies said, it didn’t undo enough of the law’s protections for people with pre-existing conditions. GOP leaders eventually put forward a more aggressive repeal. DeSantis and his colleagues voted yes on that one, but it failed in the Senate.”

St. Augustine Record: “[DeSantis signed into law a measure that] would allow insurance companies to sell short-term health coverage — an approach backed by President Trump and leading Republicans in Congress as a workaround of the Affordable Care Act, which they oppose.”

Trump and DeSantis are both anti-abortion extremists who want to ban abortion nationwide.

Trump: “There of course remains a vital role for the federal government in protecting unborn life. And it’s very important.”  

Trump: “After 50 years of failure, with nobody coming even close, I was able to kill Roe v. Wade, much to the ‘shock’ of everyone … Without me there would be no 6 weeks, 10 weeks, 15 weeks, or whatever is finally agreed to. Without me the pro Life movement would have just kept losing. Thank you President TRUMP!!!”

Trump: “I’m the one that got rid of Roe v. Wade, and everybody said that was an impossible thing to do. I put on three Supreme Court justices. Very few people have had that privilege or honor.”

Trump on if he would sign a six-week national abortion ban: “I’m looking at all [options].”

Trump: “Getting rid of Roe v. Wade was an incredible thing for pro-life because it gave pro-life something to negotiate with. Pro-life had absolutely nothing, being stuck in Roe v. Wade, to negotiate with. … And look, everybody that was president wanted to get rid and tried to get rid of Roe v. Wade … For fifty years, this has been going on. I was able to do it, and I was very honored to do it.”

Trump: “We’ll pick something that’s going to be very, very good for pro-life … I’m going to be in there pushing.”

New York Times: “DeSantis Says He Would Sign a 15-Week Abortion Ban as President”

DeSantis: “As president, I’m going to welcome pro-life policies across the board at both [state and federal] levels.”

Radio Iowa: “On Saturday at the Iowa Faith and Freedom Coalition event, you said as president, you would support abortion restrictions at the state and the federal level. Would you sign the nationwide 15-week ban that the Faith and Freedom Coalition supports?”

DeSantis: “So I’ve said from the beginning of this, as president, you put pro-life legislation on my desk, I’m going to look favorably and support the legislation.”

Tucker Carlson: “You signed a ban on abortion after six weeks in Florida. Would you do the same as president, nationally?”

DeSantis: “Well, I’m very proud to say Kim Reynolds is here and she signed a great heartbeat bill today. We were able to do that in Florida. We had a lot of opposition to that. I’m proud to have been a pro-life governor and I will be a pro life-president, so of course I want to sign pro-life legislation.”

Trump and DeSantis also have yearslong records of calling for cuts to Social Security and Medicare.

Washington Post: “His avowed stance, however, is at odds with Trump’s own record as president: Each of his White House budget proposals included cuts to Social Security and Medicare programs.”

Vox: “Trump said he wouldn’t cut Medicaid, Social Security, and Medicare. His 2020 budget cuts all 3.”

New York Times: “Trump Opens Door to Cuts to Medicare and Other Entitlement Programs”

CNN: “Donald Trump once backed 2012 privatization plans for Medicare, despite attacks on key 2024 rival for the same position”

“Former President Donald Trump has called his 2024 opponent Ron DeSantis a ‘wheelchair over the cliff kind of guy’ for supporting then-Rep. Paul Ryan’s 2012 plans to partially privatize Medicare but a review of Trump’s comments by CNN’s KFile show that he supported the same plan at the same time. … the former president enthusiastically supported the same plan, which would have partially privatized the program and critics argued turned it into a voucher system.”

CNN: “Former President Donald Trump once backed raising the retirement age to 70 and called for privatizing Social Security which he called a ‘Ponzi scheme’ – two positions he has hammered Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis for supporting as a former member of Congress and congressional candidate. … but a CNN KFile review found Trump himself also once praised Ryan on Medicare, along with the 2012 presidential nominee Mitt Romney, without praising their specific policy proposal, which called for similar changes to Ryan’s plan.”

CNN: “A CNN KFile review of comments from DeSantis’ 2012 congressional campaign found he repeatedly said he supported plans to replace Medicare with a system in which the government paid for partial costs of private plans or a traditional Medicare plan. In one interview with a local newspaper, DeSantis said he supported ‘the same thing’ for Social Security, citing the need for ‘market forces’ to restructure the program.”

Semafor: “During his time in Congress, meanwhile, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis voted for a series of budget resolutions crafted by the conservative Republican Study Committee that would have voucherized Medicare for new beneficiaries, slowed Social Security cost of living increases, and raised the retirement age for both programs.”

Trump and DeSantis have both recently doubled down on their histories of pushing extreme Islamaphobic rhetoric and policies — including both supporting Trump’s failed Muslim travel ban.

NBC News: “Before Trump, a low-profile congressman named Ron DeSantis sought a ‘Muslim travel ban’”

“In 2017, President Donald Trump triggered national outrage for implementing a so-called Muslim travel ban, blocking U.S. admissions for travelers from predominantly Muslim countries. 

“But even before Trump suggested such a ban, a low-profile congressman named Ron DeSantis quietly introduced what amounted to an early version of that travel order. … which would have blocked entry of refugees from certain countries ‘if the alien is a national of, has habitually resided in, or is claiming refugee status due to events in any country containing terrorist-controlled territory.’” 

The Guardian: “Doubling down on the hardline immigration policies that have long animated his base, Donald Trump on Monday vowed to bar refugees from Gaza and immediately expand his first-term Muslim travel ban if he wins a second term following the deadly attack on Israel last week.”

DeSantis, echoing Trump’s Muslim ban rhetoric: “Bringing people in, in mass numbers, you’re also bringing in the culture that they’re coming from.” 

New York Times: “Mr. DeSantis argued on Sunday that it would be detrimental to the United States to ‘import’ large numbers of refugees and would fuel antisemitism, echoing comments he made about people in Gaza the day before that drew scrutiny. At a campaign event on Saturday, Mr. DeSantis said, ‘If you look at how they behave, not all of them are Hamas, but they are all antisemitic. None of them believe in Israel’s right to exist.’”