Revisiting Key Moments From The Second Republican Debate In California
Seven Republican candidates – Florida Gov Ron DeSantis, North Dakota Gov Doug Burgum, Former New Jersey Gov Chris Christie, Former Vice President Mike Pence, Former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley, Sen Tim Scott of South Carolina and Vivek Ramaswamy – met for the second primary debate in California on Wednesday.
The candidates addressed a number of issues, including the looming government shutdown, the strike by United Auto Workers, immigration policy and education, taking aim at President Joe Biden and each other while the clear front-runner in the race for the GOP nomination, former President Donald Trump, was speaking nearly 2,000 miles away.
The candidates largely focused on each other, the current occupant of the White House and Trump. Several took aim at Ramaswamy, a relative newcomer whose modest rise in the polls before the first debate made him a target there as well. In the sharpest line of the night, Haley said: “Honestly every time I hear you, I feel a little bit dumber for what you say.”
Three Notable Moments From Second Republican Debate
“[Donald Trump] should be on this stage tonight”: DeSantis
After a series of questions on the UAW strike, the moderators tried to divert attention to the looming government shutdown. “Donald Trump is missing in action,” DeSantis, who is second in most polls, said in response to a question on whether populist Republicans are to blame for the shutdown. He even criticised the former president for putting $7 trillion on the debt.
Biden is doing nothing: Christie
Highlighting the high levels of illegal border crossings in the past two years, Former New Jersey Gov Chris Christie said “Biden and his crew [are] doing nothing about enforcing [immigration] law.” He said he would deploy the National Guard to the US southern border if elected. The Republican also took aim at Trump for not fulfilling his promise to “build a wall” along the border.
Clashes over US support for Ukraine
The Republican candidates clashed over the US’s ongoing support for Ukraine amid Russia’s invasion in an exchange that brought out some of the most prominent differences in opinion of the night. “Peace comes through strength,” said Pence, who is supportive of continued Ukraine aid. “Just because Putin’s an evil dictator does not mean Ukraine is good,” Ramaswamy said.