By Lydia Nusbaum
July 23, 2022 Updated 4:31 P.M. ET
HOLLYWOOD (FLV) – The Republican Party of Florida Sunshine Summit kicked off Saturday with Mark Levin moderating Florida’s 7th Congressional District debate.
Gov. Ron DeSantis introduced Levin as someone who would ask questions from a Republican perspective. Only a few media outlets were given access, including Florida’s Voice.
“We in the state of Florida are not going to allow legacy media outlets to be involved in the Republican primaries,” DeSantis said. “I’m not going to have a bunch of leftwing media people asking our candidates gotcha questions.”
Levin set an atmosphere to not always allow a candidate’s talking point to pass as an answer. Levin’s questions centered on the frustrations Republicans have with their leaders in Congress.
Seven candidates attended the Congressional District 7 debate including Al Santos, Erika Benfield, Anthony Sabatini, Cory Mills, Brady Duke, Scott Sturgill, and Rusty Roberts. Sabatini and Mills have been neck and neck in the polls.
The debate began with Sabatini and Mills being asked how they would implement their agenda as one of more than 435 members in Congress.
“We need to take back congress on the first day. So taking back the House allows us to put forth more common sense legislation that allows us to get back to the America first agenda,” Mills said. “States rights, returning power to the states, limited government. This isn’t something that is a Democrat or Republican issue, this is an American issue.”
“On day one in Congress I’m going to join the club that Ron DeSantis started. The Freedom Caucus,” Sabatini said. “I’m the only person on this stage that’s pledged to join the freedom caucus. We need a caucus within the Republican Party to make sure that they turn the entire congress, when we take control in the spring, into an oversight board.”
Mark Levin pointed to Gov. Ron DeSantis’ past efforts to help move the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Levin described DeSantis as a quiet, hard working former congressman who worked with committee members and later President Trump to move the embassy.
“They aren’t interested in drama queens,” Levin said.
He asked the candidates how they would operate in congress to pass legislation.
Cory Mills said that too many leaders want to be elected as part of the “celebrity congressional caucus.”
“We need people who know how to affect legislation,” Mills said. “And we need to have people who are unwilling to compromise their values and understand what we need as Americans.”
“We need people who are going to file legislation and get with the constitutionally-loving, like-minded members and put the pressure on Republican leadership,” Sabatini said.
One of the lengthier back and forth conversations occurred between Levin and Sabatini when the candidates were asked under which conditions they would get involved with other countries.
“We need pragmatic decision makers to judge when we should get involved in foreign affairs,” Sabatini said.
Sabatini said that he would not want direct military or economic involvement in Ukraine. Sabatini believes the U.S. should not get involved unless there is a NATO agreement.
“Your philosophy, when do we defend or not?” Levin asked.
“If there is no direct affect on America citizens significant American interest, we don’t need to get involved,” Sabatini responded.
Mills was posed a similar question on Ukraine. He does not believe Congress should have sent $56 billion to Ukraine and said the U.S. should focus on itself by improving domestic production to become “less reliant” on adversarial nations.
“We have to understand our enemy,” Mills said. “This is about economic resource warfare.”
Governor DeSantis pitched a couple of questions to the candidates including whether they supported term limits in which all of them declared they did.
Levin asked the candidates if they support amnesty for illegal immigrants who have lived in the United States for 20 years to which both Mills and Sabatini argued against.
At the end of the fifty minute debate, Levin applauded the candidates.
“Each and every one of you should be very proud,” Levin said. “You did a fantastic job. I think any of you would be excellent Members of the House of Representatives.”
Levin ended by saying, “whoever wins the nomination, kick their ass.”
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