Karol Markowicz, columnist for the New York Post & Fox News & Co-Author (with Bethany Mandel) of the new book Stolen Youth: How Radicals Are Erasing Innocence and Indoctrinating a Generation joined the Guy Benson Show to discuss the 2nd GOP Debate and discussed her opinion on the debate with Guy. Benson and Markowicz also discussed the latest DeSantis quote firing back at Trump. Listen to the full interview below:
Karol Markowicz had this to say on what DeSantis’ strategy should be moving forward:
“He needs to be fighting back. He needs to be on attack. And that’s, you know, I hope that that’s where the campaign is going at this point, because he’s running out of time to really make that happen. Draw the distinction between himself and Donald Trump, say that Donald Trump is not speaking to the Republican voters when he skipped these debates.”
Guy Benson: We welcome with us now Carol Markowicz, columnist at The New York Post. She’s a writer at FoxNews.com, coauthor of the book Stolen Youth. Carol, welcome back.
Karol Markowicz: Hi, Guy. Thanks so much for having me.
Guy Benson: So I not only heard a rumor that you were at the debate last night, I know for a fact that you were, because as soon as the debate started there, you were in the front row sitting right behind the moderators. And I said, I know her, and I thought about texting you. But then I realized everyone in their mother was probably texting you. So I didn’t. But that was you and not a body double. Yes.
Karol Markowicz: Yeah, it was me. I heard from everybody I’ve ever met in my entire life. I had no idea that the debate had these kinds of ratings because literally everybody ever texted me yesterday and, you know, said my hair looked great, which really is all that matters here.
Guy Benson: That is the most important thing facing our nation. And you’ve crossed that threshold with aplomb. Let me ask you this. How did you end up at the debate? How did you end up in the front row of said debate? Let’s start there.
Karol Markowicz: Yeah. So I was out in California and I asked to come to the debate. The RNC gave me a ticket and I did not know where I was sitting until 5 minutes before the debate began. In fact, I had a column due, so my plan was to take notes and read it during the debate. But of course I couldn’t do that to the front row, so I wrote it in a hurry after the debate was over.
Guy Benson: I want to get to the substance of that column that you just mentioned. But before that, first of all, we’ll just say you’re a DeSantis fan, a DeSantis supporter. You uprooted your family from New York, moved to Florida for all the reasons that we’ve discussed many times. So I just want to put that out there. It’s no surprise you and I have talked about this publicly on multiple occasions, but being in the room, feeling the energy and the atmospherics and all of that on substance and everything else from the candidates, from the crowd. Tell us about that. What was that like?
Karol Markowicz: I think it was very difficult to get to a substance. And I know that that came across at home as well in the room. It’s it’s hard, even harder because you can’t even tell who’s talking like the camera. You know, at home. You get to see who the camera zooms in on. Here you have to kind of look around and see, wait, who who’s speaking right now? So that’s tough. I think in general, it’s just gotten to where these debates, where, you know, candidates who let’s be real here, just don’t have a shot at this thing at all. Continue to take up space and and really the conversation gets muddled. Last night was particularly contentious. I was surprised at how hard Nikki Haley went, although from what I understand, people really enjoyed that. They liked her hitting everybody and they liked her really coming across like she was fighting for it. I personally thought that she crossed the line with Vivek, and I’m very much not of of action, but I thought that that was really uncalled for to say that when.
Guy Benson: She said everything that he says makes her feel more dumb or whatever.
Karol Markowicz: Yeah. Yeah. I thought that that was over the line. But of course, you know, these kinds of things are no longer shocking or surprising. People say things like this in the course of politics, and I think people like it.
Guy Benson: Okay. So that’s your Nikki Haley assessment. What about your guy? He didn’t really get a question in the first few minutes, but then ended up talking more than almost anyone else by the time all was said and done. What’s your analysis of Ron DeSantis last night?
Karol Markowicz: I thought he comes off and he came off like this last debate as well as like the adult in the room who is really not trying to squabble. I think he’s ready for the fight. I think maybe he was a little bit surprised that Nikki went after him on fracking, of all things. But to me, he comes off as a calm, measured sort of guy, which is what he is. But I thought it is interesting that he didn’t get to speak. He was the last person to ask the question. And I think that that is strange considering he’s clearly in first place on that stage. Obviously, Donald Trump is in first place overall, but he’s not there. So you would think that the first the candidate polling in first place would get the majority of the questions. And obviously that’s not what happened. I think that the first half was pretty bad for him just because he didn’t get to speak that much. But the second half really turned it around. And I think the last 15 minutes in particular, he got to. Make some of his strongest points and and really come across again as the grown up and the serious guy on Trump.
Guy Benson: There were a couple different moments where he was specifically critiqued for not being there. Christie went after him. Hard to Santos mentioned it as well. Does he pay any price for that or does it really not matter?
Karol Markowicz: I think it really doesn’t matter. And I have to say, I always thought and I you know, I lived in New York and Chris Christie was the governor of New Jersey. And I always thought he was just a real strong kind of guy. And he his blows really land. And I’ve been thinking that, oh, he’s going to go after DeSantis any minute now. But Donald Duck Guy. Donald Duck, this is what where we’ve gotten with Chris Christie. Like I he looked into the camera and looked like he was going to deliver the world’s most, you know, hardest insult. And he came up with Donald Duck. I was just like a little disappointed by that.
Guy Benson: It was such a good point. I think until he got to the punchline, which was just, in my view, a fizzle. But everything else he said up to that within that little exchange I thought was correct. But I tend to agree with you that the absenteeism, the truancy, the strategic not showing up by the Trump campaign makes sense given the dynamic of the race, the way things stand. Which brings us to your column where you have written at the New York Post today. Okay. We’ve had two debates, the winnowing that we keep talking about in sort of the political media needs to happen. It needs to happen very, very soon. Who needs to go? When does that need to happen? And for the next debate, which I believe is scheduled to be in Florida in November. If that’s the case, if you could have your way, if you had your druthers, what would that debate look like? Even if Trump again, doesn’t show up as his team says he won’t?
Karol Markowicz: To me, it would be Donald Trump, Ron DeSantis, Nikki Haley. Look, I think that DeSantis and Nikki Haley are presenting very different visions for where the Republican Party goes. And I think that we deserve the opportunity to hear this out. We don’t get to hear that when people are trying to, you know, make comments about who sleeps with teachers, union members and Donald Duck references, it just doesn’t work that way. I would love to see Donald Trump up there. I’ve said the whole time, it does not make any sense to me that he’s not debating. I get that he’s ahead by a lot. But these things change sometimes, and you don’t want to look back and be like, Why did I miss that opportunity? And the thing is that Donald Trump is an excellent debater. He makes very strong points. He’s very fast on his feet. But again, I don’t know why he thinks that he could just skip this.
Guy Benson: And that’s why an and it hasn’t hurt him yet. So I think next time they’ve already said we’re not coming. I also think it’s almost impossible to imagine that it would be down to just two people, Haley versus DeSantis. DeSantis kind of doing more of an America first type vision. Haley More of a traditional conservative, a Republican vision. Having that clash, I think would be interesting. I just think to people, while it sounds like it might be the ticket might be something worthwhile, I just don’t think it’s even remotely plausible that something like that is going to happen. I just wonder if the RNC or the networks involved might be able to raise the thresholds high enough to really make only the serious people or people with any chance at this thing eligible? Is that at least somewhat possible?
Karol Markowicz: Thing is, because there are so many candidates dividing up half the party that doesn’t want Donald Trump, they all have such low numbers that I just don’t see why. A third place, Vivek, with a 5% national and you know, 5% in Iowa and New Hampshire should be on the stage with Nikki Haley and Sanders, who are either in double digits in these states or pulling ahead nationally. I just I think it needs to be those two. Will the RNC do it? I don’t I guess not, because maybe to them it makes sense to have more candidates. Just a better show, more fighting, more interactions. But it’s not good for us. I think that we need to hear what these visions are. And I would love to hear from Donald Trump what his vision is, because all we really hear from him in the news is how unfair everybody’s being to him. And he had a fantastic first term. What are you bringing to your second term? What is that going to look like? Like, why can’t we hear that from him and not have that be like, oh, he doesn’t owe us that because he’s up by 40 points.
Guy Benson: Ron DeSantis, after the debate, challenged Donald Trump to a one on one debate. He did so on HANNITY. Obviously, the Trump people are not going to agree to that. That’s exactly what the Sanders would love. The Trump people say, no way. I think part of that desire is you could call it desperation, Hail Mary. It could just be him trying to take the fight a little bit more now to Trump in a way that he hasn’t done yet. And this morning. So the day after the debate on America’s NEWSROOM, this is a bit of a long clip. But in cut 28, listen to I think the way that, too, Santos is previewing, the way he is going to come hammer and tongs against the frontrunner, especially in Iowa in the weeks to come right here.
Ron DeSantis: He owes it to the voters to defend his record, to defend the decisions he’s made, and also to defend why is he running on the same program in 2016 that he did not actually implement, for example, draining the swamp? He didn’t fire Christopher Wray. He didn’t fire Anthony Fauci. He didn’t do anything to clean house. Now, all of a sudden he’s going to slay the administrative state when he gave Fauci an award his last day in office. What about all the spending and debt? They racked up massive amounts of debt, particularly in his last year in office. Of course, you’re going to end up leading to inflation when you do that. So I think on issue after issue, he owes it to the voters to come out and do it. And I’d say the final thing, Bill, he’s had a lot to say about me on social media, really since 2022, right before the midterm election. He started he started attacking me when I was we all Republicans, we’re supposed to be united for a red wave. Now, he tried to attack me and has been doing it a lot. You know, it’s one thing to do it behind a keyboard, step up on stage and do it to my face. I’m ready for it. You used to say I was a great governor. Now all of a sudden you’re saying the opposite. Let’s have that discussion and I’ll do it. We could do it one on one. I was with Sean last night. Let’s do that. And let’s let’s give the American people the choice that they deserve.
Guy Benson: All right. A little bit more bare knuckled there, Carol. Is that what we need to hear more of from him in your mind? Is that what Republican voters need to see and what’s your thought on the one on one challenge and the strategy behind even floating that?
Karol Markowicz: I don’t think Trump’s going to take him up on it, but I think he should keep hammering home that, look, you want to say something to me, come say it on the stage. I think that’s absolutely right. I think what’s been tough for DeSantis and, you know, this is pure speculation. I know people see me sitting next to Kacey DeSantis and think I have inside information on this. I don’t. But I think that what is tough that is he genuinely used to like Donald Trump. I think they had a lot in common. I think they had a lot of policy issues in common. And I think that they were friendly. So to him, it wasn’t so easy to just reverse and start bashing Trump, even though for Trump, it was very simple to throw DeSantis under the bus a few days before the midterm elections. So this is what the DeSantis needs to be doing. He needs to be fighting back. He needs to be on attack. And that’s, you know, I hope that that’s where the campaign is going at this point, because he’s running out of time to really make that happen. Draw the distinction between himself and Donald Trump, say that Donald Trump is not speaking to the Republican voters when he skipped these debates. And yes, they should have a one on one conversation, but I don’t think Trump will do that.
Guy Benson: Lastly, Gavin Newsom is gearing up to debate Ron DeSantis. That is a one on one that’s happening apparently in late November. November 30th is the scheduled date somewhere in Georgia. More details to come. And Gavin Newsom was at this debate last night representing the Democrats, going around trolling the media, loved it. The Democrats loved it. He’s very much setting himself up as a national figure. And he keeps going after the Santas whom he obviously hates. And he said it was a mistake for him to run. He listen to too many consultants. He’s totally unqualified to be president. And the fact that he even agreed to debate me shows that he’s unfit for the job. It’s a very weird line of attack where he’s like, hey, let’s have a a debate as. Two of the biggest state governors in the country with diametrically opposed views on almost everything. Let’s have that clash of ideas. And DeSantis says, okay. Because if he said no, Newsom would be calling him a chicken and all that other stuff. But instead he said, okay, great, let’s do it. And now for that reason, Newsom saying that proves that he’s distracted and can’t be president and is unfit for the job. Seems like Gavin Newsom might not be a totally honest broker.
Karol Markowicz: Right? What a surprise there. Look, I if I’m Gavin Newsom, I’d be mad at Ron DeSantis, too. He is having spectacular success in Florida. People from California keep moving to Florida. I keep meeting these new Floridians from California all the time. So the idea that Gavin Newsom is mad at Ron DeSantis makes little sense to me. I think what his comments last night about this Sanders accepting his debate offer really all about is that he kind of, you know, poked Kamala in the eye. Why should it be Gavin Newsom debating? Ron DeSantis obviously should be, you know, the next in line after Biden, which is Kamala. I think this is his way of getting around Kamala and inserting himself into the national conversation. And now he’s like, oh, I don’t know. I don’t even know why he would debate me while he’s debating you, because you skipped Kamala and you wanted this and now you’re going to get it.
Guy Benson: Yeah. He sees himself as next in line. No question about that. Carol Markowicz columns in The New York Post. She was in the hall last night, the Reagan Library in Simi Valley, California. You can read her stuff at FoxNews.com. You can buy her book Stolen Youth. Carol, always enjoy it. Thanks so much.
Karol Markowicz: Thanks so much. Thank you.
Guy Benson: We’ll be right back after this. Miss a minute. Miss a lot. The Guy Benson show.