Florida Governor Ron DeSantis told Fox News on Thursday that he plans to participate in the first GOP presidential debate in August whether or not former President Donald Trump is in attendance.
“I’ll be there no matter what,” DeSantis said. “I hope everyone who is eligible will come. I think it’s an important part of the process, and I look forward to being able to be on stage and show our candidacy, our vision and our leadership to a wide audience. “
Who will be at the first debate remains an open question. The Republican National Committee has imposed requirements regarding polls, contributions and signing a loyalty pledge to support the eventual GOP nominee that may be difficult for some of the lower-tier candidates to meet.
And the big question remains whether Trump, who continues to be the frontrunner in the race, will run. So far, he’s indicated he’s not interested, and sources told NBC News he’s exploring ways to spoil the debate by perhaps scheduling a concurrent event.
Fox News host Will Cain also asked DeSantis on Thursday why he continues to lag in the polls behind Trump. The governor said he was just getting started, and the fact that he was a target is proof that his message is catching on.
“Well, I think if you look at people like the corporate media, who are they picking on? Who don’t they want to be the candidate? They’re picking on me,” he said. he declares. “Who is the president of Mexico attacking because he knows we’ll be strong on the border, to hold him accountable and the cartels? He’s going after me. So I think if you look at all these people who are responsible for a lot of the ills in our society, they’re targeting me as the person they don’t want to see as a candidate.”
DeSantis recently said he supports the use of lethal force against migrants entering the United States who are suspected of bringing drugs.
On Thursday, DeSantis’ presidential campaign announced that it has raised more than $20 million since its launch in late May, while the super PAC that backs him has raised $130 million so far.
Trump’s joint fundraising effort – which includes both his campaign and his PAC leadership – said it raised more than $35 million from April to June, but it’s unclear how much went to each entity. The executive PAC, Save America, also covers the former president’s legal bills.
This article originally appeared on NBCNews.com