Washington DC [US], September 28 (ANI): The second 2024 Republican presidential primary debate ended just as it began with former US President Donald Trump as the party's dominant front-runner, CNN reported.
As per CNN, the seven GOP contenders in Wednesday (US local time) night's showdown at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in California provided a handful of memorable moments, including former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley unloading what often seemed like the entire field's pent-up frustration with entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy.
Haley said:"Honestly, every time I hear you, I feel a little bit dumber for what you say."The two candidates criticized Trump's absence, as well. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said he was "missing in action." Former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie called the former president "Donald Duck" and said he "hides behind his golf clubs" rather than defending his record on stage.
The GOP field also took early shots at President Joe Biden. South Carolina Senator Tim Scott said Biden rather than joining the striking auto workers' union on the picket line Tuesday in Michigan, should be on the southern border. Former Vice President Mike Pence said Biden should be "on the unemployment line." North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum said Biden was interfering with "free markets."As per CNN, what played out in the debate hosted by Fox Business Network and Univision, is unlikely to change the trajectory of a GOP race in which Trump has remained dominant in national and early-state polling.
Trump played safe by skipping the debates and taking a running-as-an-incumbent approach to the 2024 GOP primary.
Trump's rivals took a few shots at him. DeSantis knocked him for deficit spending. Christie mocked him during the night's early moments, calling him "Donald Duck" for skipping the debate and then in his final comments said he would vote Trump off the GOP island, as per CNN.
Christie said:"This guy has not only divided our party - he's divided families all over this country. He's divided friends all over this country. He needs to be voted off the island and he needs to be taken out of this process."Trump, however, largely escaped serious scrutiny during his four years in the Oval Office from a field of rivals courting voters who have largely positive views of his presidency.
"Tonight's GOP debate was as boring and inconsequential as the first debate, and nothing that was said will change the dynamics of the primary contest," Trump campaign senior adviser Chris LaCivita said in a statement.
The second GOP primary debate was beset by interruptions, crosstalk and protracted squabbles between the candidates and moderators over speaking time.
Some of the highest polling candidates after Trump- DeSantis and Haley - were among those least willing to dive into the muck, especially during the crucial first hour. The moderators repeatedly tried to clear the road for the Florida governor, at least in the beginning. But he was all but absent from the proceedings for the first 15 minutes.
Ramaswamy fared somewhat better, speaking louder- and faster - than most of his rivals. But he was bogged down repeatedly when caught between his own talking points and cross-volleys of criticisms from frustrated candidates like Scott, according to CNN. (ANI)