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Image: Ron DeSantis Holds First Presidential Campaign Events Across Iowa
Republican presidential candidate Ron DeSantis at a campaign event at Eternity Church on May 30, 2023 in Clive, Iowa. Scott Olson / Getty Images

Eyes on 2024: GOP presidential hopefuls mostly line up against debt limit deal

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said Tuesday that Trump "owes it to folks" to take a position on the debt ceiling deal.

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Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis took some questions from the press on Tuesday during a campaign stop in Iowa, and he used the opportunity to take some swipes at former President Donald Trump over the bipartisan debt ceiling deal in Washington, NBC News’ Dasha Burns, Gabe Gutierrez, Abigail Brooks and Bianca Seward report from the Hawkeye State.

DeSantis chided Trump for not yet taking a position on the deal that President Joe Biden and Speaker Kevin McCarthy struck to raise the debt ceiling and impose some spending cuts. (Trump hasn’t weighed in since the deal was struck, but warned earlier that Republicans should let the country default unless Democrats “give you massive cuts.”)

“Are you leading from the front? Are you waiting for polls to tell you what position to take? I lead from the front on this. I reviewed the deal. I spoke with people I trusted and I put out a statement saying where I stand, and I didn’t need to put my finger in the wind,” DeSantis said, later adding that Trump “owes it to folks to come out and take a position.”

DeSantis had previously criticized the agreement, saying the country “will still be careening towards bankruptcy.” And he isn’t the only presidential hopeful to do so. 

Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., said in a statement on Wednesday that he would vote against the debt ceiling deal: “The question I asked myself is at the end of the negotiation, is it in our best interest as a nation to allow Joe Biden, someone we cannot trust on spending, to have an open checkbook, no limit on the credit card until the end of his term? My answer is no.” (The package does include spending caps for the next two fiscal years.)

Former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley said in a statement that adding to the debt “without substantially cutting spending is no way to run our country’s fiscal affairs.” Biotech entrepreneur Vivek Ramswamy said he would vote against the deal, saying, “We should stand for principles, not incrementalism or window-dressing.”

Former Vice President Mike Pence, who is weighing a run for the White House, said the deal “doesn’t just kick the can down the road, it uses Washington smoke and mirror games to make small reforms while weakening our military.”

But former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson praised McCarthy, telling The Sunday Show on MSNBC that McCarthy “has done an excellent job in shepherding this for the Republican majority in Congress, particularly on the work requirement issue.”

In other campaign news…

Friend request: DeSantis’ campaign made its first ad buy, per AdImpact, focusing on a digital buy, spending at least $300,000 on Facebook and Google. 

Money moves: NBC News’ Matt Dixon scoops that before DeSantis launched his campaign, his administration “quietly changed state guidelines” to allow a state-level political group to transfer funds to a federal super PAC, which DeSantis’ political operation is poised to do (or may have already done). The plan to transfer that money has sparked a complaint from the Campaign Legal Center, which was filed with the Federal Election Commission on Tuesday, Dixon reports. 

Collision course: The two GOP hopefuls from South Carolina, Haley and GOP Sen. Tim Scott, are facing an “inevitable collision” in the early primary state, the Post and Courier reports. 

Time for some traffic problems in the GOP primary: Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is expected to launch his presidential campaign next week, Axios reports.  

LIV and Let Die: Ramaswamy fired one of his campaign’s consulting firms, Gitcho Goodwin, after the firm registered as foreign agents to do work for the Saudi-funded LIV Golf league, Politico reports.

No thanks: GOP Rep. Warren Davidson has decided not to run for Senate in Ohio, reports. 

Thinking about it: Tennessee state Rep. Gloria Johnson, one of three Democrats who Republicans tried to expel after protesting on the state House floor, is considering challenging GOP Sen. Marsha Blackburn, per the Chattanooga Times Free Press. 

California love: California Secretary of State Shirley Weber is endorsing Democratic Rep. Barbara Lee’s Senate bid

Kentucky ad wars continue: A group affiliated with the Republican Governors Association is up with a new spot criticizing Kentucky Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear over his March veto of restrictions on transgender youth (the legislature ultimately overruled that veto). 

Heading out? The Salt Lake Tribune reports that Utah Republican Rep. Chris Stewart plans to announce his resignation from Congress as early as Wednesday, a move that, per the Deseret News, could mean the seat remains vacant until next year. 

Bowing out: Ohio Republican JR Majewski is ending his congressional bid citing his mother’s forthcoming heart procedure, Politico reports. Majewski lost a bid last year to Democratic Rep. Marcy Kaptur in a key district for Republicans after allegations he misstated his military record (which Majewski denies).