Former Republican Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker said Wednesday on CNN that Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is making the same mistakes he did during the 2015 primary.
Walker first said his biggest piece of advice to the Republicans hitting the stage Wednesday night during the first primary debate need to be “bold or bolder than you’ve ever been before.”
“My mistake was listening to consultants who told me to run on my record, that’s not enough,” Walker said.
CNN’s John Berman then noted that DeSantis is seen as a successful governor in the same vein that Walker was seen.
“Is he making some of the mistakes you think you made?” Bermann asked. (RELATED: ‘An Awful Lot Of Trouble’: Fox News Hosts Compare DeSantis Campaign To Jeb Bush’s Failed 2016 Run)
“I think so and I think he can correct a fair amount of that tonight,” Walker said. “He’s got a big, bold record and a lot of people look at what happened in Florida, look at his re-election, see a lot of positives there. But a reminder from governor to governor, you’re not running for election to be the nation’s governor. You’re running to be president, so you have to escalate things. You have to raise it to a whole new standard. You have to talk about not just the things that you did, but the things that you’re going to do going forward. I think you can have that kind of breakthrough moment and I think he has to have that breakthrough moment if he’ll continue to be viewed as the most viable alternative to President Trump.”
“Has to?” Bermann pressed.
“I think it’s a make or break in that regard. I think it’s not enough just to have a competent debate. Remember, this is not just a head-to-head. Many of us have gone head to head with our general election opponents and typically there you’re just trying not to stumble, you have a good debate, you’re solid, you make a connection and you make no mistakes, when it comes to a multi-field debate like tonight, you’re competing with time with seven other candidates and you can’t afford not to capture people’s attention early on. That means he’s got to be bold. He’s got to be decisive and probably most importantly, he’s got to have some passion. I would expect, for example, another friend of mine… Chris Christie to come out swinging not just at President Trump but very well will go after DeSantis and that will be a moment for him.”
Walker was heralded as the new face of the GOP leading up to the 2016 election, but within weeks of launching his campaign, he underwent staffing and fundraising problems before struggling to compete against Trump’s messaging. Similarly, DeSantis’ team recently cleared house and underwent staffing changes amid sinking poll numbers.