Seven candidates seeking the Republican nomination for president in 2024 are squaring off Wednesday night at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California, for theof the primary cycle.
The candidates participating in Wednesday’s debate include:
- Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis
- Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie
- North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum
- Former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley
- Former Vice President Mike Pence
- Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina
- Vivek Ramaswamy
The debate kicked off with questions about the strike by the United Auto Workers, the fast-approaching government shutdown and immigration. Most candidates trained their fire on President Biden and politicians in Washington, avoiding direct shots at each other.
Former President Donald Trump, who remains the clear Republican front-runner, skipped the debate to.
The first GOP debate in August featuredamong the candidates but did little to change the underlying dynamic of the race, with no candidate breaking through to challenge Trump’s dominance in the GOP primary polls.
released Tuesday found Trump leads the Republican primary field comfortably in both Iowa and New Hampshire, the first two contests. His current margins would translate to winning half of Iowa’s delegates and the lion’s share in New Hampshire.
The debate is airing on Fox Business, Univision and Fox News from 9 to 11 p.m. ET, and can beon Rumble. Stuart Varney of Fox Business, Dana Perino of Fox News and Univision’s Ilia Calderón are moderating.
We’ll be adding highlights and notable moments from the debate below throughout the night:
DeSantis says Trump is “missing in action” for skipping debate
After a round of questions about the UAW strike, the moderators turned to the looming. Speaking for the first time, DeSantis took the opportunity to knock Trump for not showing up to the debate.
“Donald Trump is missing in action,” DeSantis said in response to a question on whether populist Republicans are to blame for the shutdown. “He should be on this stage tonight. He owes it to you to defend his record.”
DeSantis criticized Trump for adding more than $7 trillion to the nation’s debt during his presidency, which Christie also noted.
“Donald Trump, he hides behind the walls of his golf clubs and won’t show up here to answer questions,” Christie said. “He puts $7 trillion on the debt, he should be in this room to answer those questions.”
Christie said “everyone” is to blame for the shutdown.
“Voters should blame everybody who’s in Washington, D.C. They’re being sent down there to do the job, and they’ve been failing at doing the job for a very long time,” Christie said. “If the government closes, it is to the blame of everyone in Washington, D.C.”