Republican presidential candidate Ron DeSantis said on Saturday that he will be participating in The Family Leader Forum in Iowa “no matter what happens”, potentially putting his qualifications in future debates at risk.
This week the Republican National Committee threatened to disqualify GOP presidential candidates from RNC-sponsored debates if they participate in an Iowa forum hosted by a conservative Christian organization, The Family leader.
The RNC reminded candidates that they signed a pledge not to participate in debates like the one in Des Moines that aren’t sanctioned by the national party, and that anyone who breaks that pledge will not be allowed to participate in future debates.
“Any Republican presidential candidate who participates in this or other similar events will be deemed to have violated this pledge and will be disqualified from taking part in any future RNC-sanctioned presidential primary debates,” the Oct. 28 letter said.
DeSantis confirmed on Friday that he’ll attend the group’s event. “I’m going to be there at the Family Leader, I think it’s an important part of this process,” he said.
“I’ll be here no matter what happens, and so you guys can pencil me in for that,” he told reporters after a campaign event in Ames, Iowa.
The Family Leader Foundation has also invited former United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley, South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott, businessman Vivek Ramaswamy and former President Donald Trump to participate in its forum, but so far DeSantis is the only one that confirmed that he is planning on attending.
Tricia McLaughlin, a spokesperson for the Ramaswamy campaign, told NBC News in a statement that the campaign is “hopeful that RNC and the Family Leader will be able to work out their logistical issues to best serve the voters” but has not said if Ramaswamy is planning on attending.
The fourth Republican debate is scheduled for December 6th.