Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has made a commitment to support the Republican National Committee’s (RNC) nominee by signing their loyalty pledge. This comes as the initial GOP primary debate approaches, scheduled to take place in Milwaukee later this month. By signing the pledge, DeSantis ensures his eligibility to participate in the upcoming presidential primary debate on August 23. However, it is important to note that this commitment does not affect his agreement to engage in a debate moderated by Sean Hannity of Fox News against Democratic California Governor Gavin Newsom.
DeSantis is one of only two Republican candidates, alongside businessman Vivek Ramaswamy, who meet the qualifications for the first debate and have endorsed the RNC’s pledge. However, the pledge has sparked controversy among other potential 2024 Republican contenders. Former Representative Will Hurd expressed his unwillingness to sign the pledge, expressing concerns over the possibility of former President Trump becoming the nominee. Hurd emphasized the importance of honesty and principles, stating that debate participation should not be manipulated by parties.
Similarly, former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie criticized the pledge, calling it a “useless idea.” Christie recalled an incident from the 2016 election when Reince Priebus, then White House chief of staff, had to request Trump’s signature on the pledge. Trump did not raise his hand when asked to reaffirm his support for the nominee during a subsequent debate. Christie’s criticism highlights the varying perspectives among Republican candidates regarding party loyalty and debate participation in the 2024 election cycle.