On September 23, the very first Republican debate for President in 2023 was held Milwaukee, Wisconsin before an audience of 4,000 at the Fiserv Forum. The debate was sponsored and telecast exclusively by FOX News. Bret Baier and Martha MacCallum of Fox News were the moderators who presided over the debate.
Former President Donald Trump, although having qualified, declined to participate seeing no need because of his huge lead in all the polls. The candidates in alphabetical order who qualified and who participated were North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum, Former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, Former Governor of South Carolina Nikki Haley, former Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson, former Vice President Mike Pence, businessman billionaire Vivek Ramaswamy and South Carolina US Senator Tim Scott.
The national news organizations CNN and Politico published the following news articles on the internet, each giving a totally different perspective:
With Donald Trump skipping the first 2024 Republican presidential primary debate, eight of his primary rivals – most of them men wearing ties similar to the bright red one regularly worn by the former president – brawled for second-place status Wednesday night.
Vivek Ramaswamy, the 38-year-old entrepreneur and first-time candidate, was alongside Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis in the center of the stage – and he was the central figure for much of the night. Ramaswamy clashed with former Vice President Mike Pence over his experience, former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley over foreign policy, former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie over Trump, and more.
And because he has positioned himself as a defender of Trump, Ramaswamy was, at times, a stand-in for the former president, who momentarily ceded the stage Wednesday night but will take it back Thursday when he turns himself in at the Fulton County jail in Georgia as he faces election subversion charges.
For all the fireworks in the two-hour showdown, the debate had the feel of an undercard. Trump has retained his massive lead in the polls despite his legal woes, and nothing that happened Wednesday night is likely to turn the race on its head.
The former president’s absence meant several candidates who have positioned themselves as strident critics of the former president were denied opportunities to directly confront him. Christie, who Ramaswamy said is running a campaign “based on vengeance and grievance” against Trump, spent more time brawling with the entrepreneur than the former president. Former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson went long stretches of the debate without being acknowledged.
Meanwhile, for North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum, the most significant development Wednesday was that he was able to participate in the debate at all. Burgum was taken to a Milwaukee emergency room Tuesday after suffering a high-grade tear of his Achilles tendon.
“I think I took it too literally when they said, ‘Go to Milwaukee and break a leg,’” he joked.
The debate played out in front of a rowdy crowd of about 4,000 people at the Fiserv Forum in Milwaukee. The crowd’s reactions – including jeers and boos when candidates criticized Trump – at times drowned out the Fox News moderators.
Here are seven takeaways from the first 2024 Republican presidential primary debate:
- CANDIDATES GO AFTER RAMASWAMY
With Trump absent from Wednesday’s debate, the target of most of the debate participants was not DeSantis or South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott or any candidate who has ever held elected office. It was political newcomer Ramaswamy. The first jab at the Ohio entrepreneur came from Pence: “Vivek, you recently said a president can’t do everything. Well, I’ve got news for you, Vivek. I’ve been in the hallway. I’ve been in the West Wing. The president of the United States has to confront every crisis facing America.”
That spurred a heated back-and-forth and light name-calling between the two candidates. Later, in the first bit of the debate, former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie compared Ramaswamy’s answers to something cranked out by ChatGPT. Christie then capitalized on Ramaswamy rhetorically asking what a little-known guy with a funny name was doing on the debate stage by pointing out that the quip sounded awfully like Barack Obama’s old stump line about him being “a skinny kid with a funny name who believes that America has a place for him.”
At another point, Pence went after Ramaswamy when the entrepreneur said, “We are in the middle of a national identity crisis.” The former vice president replied, “We don’t have an identity crisis, Vivek. We are not looking for a new national identity.”
The pile-on aimed at Ramaswamy was surprising. He’s new to politics. At the same time, recent polling has shown him rising over other candidates who have spent, in some cases, decades in electoral politics. For Ramaswamy’s opponents, this is about scuttling any momentum he is having.
2. DESANTIS DOESN’T STAND OUT
DeSantis set the expectation that he would be the focal point of Wednesday’s debate. He was anything but.
He certainly didn’t speak the most. Though his campaign suggested his Republican opponents would have their “knives out” for DeSantis, he wasn’t on the receiving end of many attacks. And at a key moment – when the candidates were asked to raise their hands if they would support Trump if he is convicted in a court of law – DeSantis peeked around the stage to see how everyone else had responded before he half heartedly put up his right palm.
DeSantis, who earned the center-stage spot, appeared content to exit Milwaukee without risking his second-place standing in the polls. But he also did little to erase the impression, confirmed by polling, that he is closer to the rest of the pack than in a tier with Trump or in one of his own.
When he spoke, DeSantis largely leaned on rehearsed lines familiar to anyone who has heard him speak in recent months. Just as he does on the campaign trail, he opened the debate by declaring “Our country is in decline” and “We need to send Joe Biden back to his basement.” He joked about Hunter Biden’s paintings – a regular punchline when he visits early nominating states. He said under a DeSantis administration, people who cross into the United States illegally would end up “stone cold dead,” a promise he has repeated for weeks.
At times, moderators attempted to move DeSantis off his practiced remarks. When DeSantis touted his record on crime by declaring it was at a 50-year low in Florida, Fox’s Brett Baier interjected that crime was up in Miami. DeSantis clarified: “Well, statewide.” Asked if he would support a federal six-week abortion ban, DeSantis talked about his electoral victory in Florida. Pressed to give an answer, he replied as he has for weeks, by refusing to rule it out or get behind it.
DeSantis attempted to shed his reputation as a cold and stiff debater by forcefully speaking directly to Americans at home, often pointing directly at the camera, and by sharing anecdotes from an abortion survivor and a mother whose son died from fentanyl poisoning. He shared his biography – thrice mentioning his military service and talking repeatedly about his young family – an acknowledgment that voters may not yet know his story beyond the cultural clashes and Covid-19 policies that have made him a Republican star.
- CHRISTIE DOESN’T HAVE A BREAKOUT MOMENT
If there was one candidate who was expected to emerge from Wednesday night with a knock-out punch of a moment, it was Christie. Nearly eight years ago, the former governor embarrassed Marco Rubio during the final debate before the New Hampshire primary by pointing out the Florida senator’s habit of repeating lines. While Rubio won more votes than Christie in the Granite State – coming in fifth to Christie’s sixth – the senator struggled to shed a reputation for being robotic.
Christie seemed ready to give Ramaswamy the same treatment. But while Christie’s “ChatGPT” line was reminiscent of his past debate performance, he failed to trip up the Ohio businessman. Instead, Ramaswamy went on to attack him over his criticism of Trump.
Asked if he would support the former president if he’s convicted of a crime, Christie said the party needs to stop “normalizing this conduct,” drawing boos from the crowd.
“Your claim that Donald Trump is motivated by vengeance and grievance would be a lot more credible if your entire campaign were not based in vengeance and grievance against one man,” Ramaswamy said.
Ahead of the debate, Doug Mayer, a senior adviser to the Christie campaign, told CNN the former New Jersey governor would turn anyone who defended Trump into Trump. But Christie’s attempt to attack the former president’s top defender onstage was met with more vitriol from the crowd.
“You make me laugh,” Christie said before the sound of boos drowned him out. The optics didn’t help: Fox News showed a split screen of Christie standing silently as Ramaswamy grinned until the moderators asked the crowd to let him finish.
- CANDIDATES DRAW DISTINCTIONS ON ABORTION
Some candidates supported a 15-week federal abortion ban. Some said they were against efforts to pass a nationwide ban. And no one clearly stated they would sign a six-week federal abortion ban – even if they’d approved such laws as governors.
More than a year after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, abortion policy is still a tricky issue for Republican candidates caught between the need to demonstrate their anti-abortion bona fides and address the realities of the political landscape, where voters have rejected stringent abortion restrictions and the candidates who backed them.
At one end of the spectrum stood Haley, who sparred with Pence over the possibility of passing a federal ban. Haley called on the other candidates to “be honest” with the American people about the low odds of getting 60 senators to overcome a filibuster and approve a federal abortion ban. She instead pushed for consensus on issues such as encouraging adoption and allowing doctors and nurses with moral objections to the procedure the right not to perform them.
“Consensus is the opposite of leadership,” Pence said in response. But even Pence wasn’t willing to go further than endorsing a 15-week federal abortion ban, the cutoff offered in a bill South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham introduced last year.
“A 15-week ban is an idea whose time has come,” Pence said. Scott also backed the 15-week ban onstage.
Two candidates who have signed six-week abortion bans into law – DeSantis and North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum – stopped short of saying they would do the same nationally. Burgum said his opposition to a national ban stems from his support for the 10th Amendment. DeSantis, asked if he would sign a federal six-week ban, simply said he would “stand on the side of life.”
“I understand Wisconsin will do it different than Texas,” DeSantis said. “But I will support the cause of life as governor and as president.”
- DESANTIS TRIES, BUT FAILS, TO DUCK JANUARY 6 QUESTION AFTER BEING PRESSED BY PENCE
When moderators asked DeSantis whether Pence was right to reject Trump’s pressure campaign to overturn the 2020 presidential election, the Florida governor attempted to dodge – ignoring what he’d been asked and complaining about the “weaponization” of the federal government.
But Pence dug in, putting DeSantis on the spot.
“The American people deserve to know whether everyone on this stage agrees that I kept my oath to the Constitution that day. There’s no more important duty, so answer the question,” he said.
“Mike did his duty. I’ve got no beef with him,” DeSantis said, attempting to quickly move on.
The moment illustrated how cautious the Florida governor is of alienating Trump’s base.
Christie, though, mocked DeSantis’ answer, calling it “a pre-canned speech.”
He said Pence “deserves not grudging credit; he deserves our thanks as Americans.”
- HALEY LEANS TOWARDS THE GENERAL ELECTION
Haley, the former South Carolina governor and US ambassador to the United Nations under Trump, brought onto the stage Wednesday a message that was geared more directly for a general electorate than those of her rivals.
What’s less clear is whether she did enough to impress Republican voters to get there.
Haley balked at a federal abortion ban, saying the reality of the Senate’s 60-vote threshold to break the filibuster and the need for a House majority means “consensus” is necessary on the issue. She also said contraception should be available to all women.
She was one of the few candidates to acknowledge that climate change is real.
She was the first to criticize Trump by name, pointing to rising spending during his presidency. She praised Pence’s actions on January 6, 2021, despite Trump’s pressure on the former vice president to seek to overturn the 2020 election result. Haley also called her former boss the “most disliked politician in America.”
“We cannot win a general election that way,” she said.
And she hammered Ramaswamy during an exchange over Russia, as Haley defended the United States’ support for Ukraine.
“You have no foreign policy experience, and it shows,” she said during one of the night’s most animated exchanges.
- SCOTT STICKS TO MR. NICE GUY ROUTINE
The plan for Scott going into the debate was to stick with his “kill ‘em with kindness” attitude. For the first part of the debate, he did that. The problem was that approach kept him out of most of the exchanges. While the other candidates were debating and skirmishing over abortion, Ukraine or whether Trump should be pardoned, Scott wasn’t really in it. He did try and insert himself with warnings about the “weaponization” of the federal government and crime in America. But all of his comments and arguments faded into the background as candidates piled on Ramaswamy or Christie praised Pence for his actions on January 6, 2021.
When Scott did get a chance to weigh in on the southern border, illegal immigration and fentanyl, he offered a long answer about how important and easy it would be to finish Trump’s border wall.
“As the next president of the United States, I will make that border wall complete,” Scott said, extending each word in that concluding sentence. He paused for applause. There was none.
Ahead of the debate, Republican strategists argued that this was the approach Scott wanted to take because it’s his authentic self. The question now is if the South Carolina senator will stick with it going forward.
The link to the full CNN report with videos and photos is here:
POLITICO: The spiciest moments of the first GOP debate
Trump wasn’t on stage. But the debate didn’t lack for intense exchanges.
Mike Pence and Chris Christie knocked Vivek Ramaswamy as a know-it-all novice.
Nikki Haley leaned into being the only woman on stage.
And no matter whether former President Donald Trump is convicted of a crime, he still has the support of most of his rivals.
The first Republican presidential debate of the 2024 election did not lack for fireworks, even with the absence of its frontrunner Trump.
Here’s a look at the must-see moments of the two-hour showdown:
PENCE WON’T VOW TO PARDON TRUMP
Former Vice President Mike Pence refused to vow to pardon former President Donald Trump if elected — though he didn’t close the door to that possibility, either, after being goaded onstage by Vivek Ramaswamy.
“Join me in making a commitment that on day one you would pardon Donald Trump,” Ramaswamy challenged Pence.
“I don’t know why you assume Donald Trump will be convicted of these crimes,” Pence replied. “That is the difference between you and me. I have given pardons when I was governor of the state of Indiana. It usually follows a finding of guilt and contrition by the individual that’s been convicted.”
Trump, Pence’s former running mate, is currently facing dozens of charges across four indictments. In one case, a federal indictment against Trump related to his efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 election, Pence could end up serving as a key witness against the former president.
“If I am president of the United States, we’ll give fair consideration to any pardon requests,” Pence said onstage Wednesday night.
CANDIDATES SAY THEY WOULD SUPPORT TRUMP — EVEN IF HE’S CONVICTED
Asked if they would support Trump as the party’s nominee even if he was convicted of a crime, 6 of 8 candidates raised their hands — with varying degrees of enthusiasm — with only Christie and Hutchinson indicating they would not support the former president again.
Christie, shaking his fist slightly, spoke up first after the question, side-stepping the issue of prosecutors that many Republicans have criticized as politicized, but calling attention to Trump’s underlying behavior.
“Someone has to stop normalizing this conduct,” the former New Jersey governor said, though his comments were met with displeasure by some in the audience as well as on the stage.
“Booing is allowed, but it does not change the truth,” Christie added.
ATTACKS ON RAMASWAMY DOMINATED THE FIRST HOUR
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis may have had the No. 1 spot on the debate stage. But it’s the man in the No. 2 spot, Vivek Ramaswamy, who’s taken the most incoming over the first hour of the two-hour melee in Milwaukee.
Mike Pence and Chris Christie piled on Ramaswamy, who entered the debate as a star on the rise while DeSantis has been sliding in polls. They’ve attacked him on his age and his political inexperience — Pence called Ramaswamy a “rookie,” Christie derided him as an “amateur” — as they look to stop his climb.
And the former federal prosecutor took Ramaswamy, who’s repeatedly pledged to pardon Trump if elected president, to task for defending the former president against the multiple criminal investigations he’s facing.
“You’ve never done anything to try to advance the interests of this government except to put yourself forward as a candidate tonight,” Christie said. “I did it as U.S. attorney, I did it as governor. And I am not going to bow to anyone.”
It all made DeSantis somewhat of an afterthought over the first hour, limiting his screen time and his speaking time.
PENCE’S RIVALS DEFENDED HIM ON JAN. 6: ‘MIKE DID HIS DUTY’
GOP presidential candidates were faced with a key question Wednesday night: Did Pence do the right thing on Jan. 6?
“Absolutely,” Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) said, who was the first candidate to answer the question.
Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley and North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum agreed with Scott, though Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis danced around the question.
“It’s not about Jan. 6, 2021, it’s about Jan. 20, 2025, when the president is going to take office,” DeSantis said. DeSantis later clarified and said “Mike did his duty. I got no beef with him.”
Pence has defended his actions on Jan. 6 and has said former President Donald Trump “had no right to overturn the election” on Jan. 6.
Pence refused former President Donald Trump’s pressure to overturn President Joe Biden’s 2020 victory when presiding over the certification of the election results.
“I made it clear and hoped that the issues surrounding the 2020 election and the controversies around Jan. 6 would not come to this, come to criminal proceedings,” Pence said. “The American people deserve to know that the president asked me in his request that I reject or return votes. He asked me to put him over the Constitution and I chose the Constitution.”
CANDIDATES CLASH OVER A NATIONAL ABORTION BAN
DeSantis touted signing a six-week abortion ban in Florida — which has yet to take effect, pending a court review — but dodged a direct question on whether he would sign a similar federal ban into law, saying only that he would.
“I will stand on the side of life,” he responded. “I understand Wisconsin will do it different than Texas. I understand Iowa and New Hampshire will do it different. But I will support the cause of life as governor and as president.”
Haley also ducked a direct answer on the question, as she has in the past, arguing that a national ban isn’t likely to garner the needed 60 Senate votes to pass. Instead, she called for narrower legislation.
“Can’t we all agree that we should ban late-term abortions? Can’t we all agree that we should encourage adoptions? Can’t we all agree that doctors and nurses who don’t believe in abortions shouldn’t have to perform them? Can’t we agree that contraception should be available? Can’t we all agree that we are not going to put a woman in jail or give her the death penalty if she gets an abortion?”
Other candidates jumped in with more direct responses.
Pence and Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) voiced support for a national ban, arguing that failing to do so would allow blue states to continue providing abortions.
“We can’t leave it to Illinois. We can’t leave it to Minnesota,” Scott said.
Pence also hit Haley for her answer, calling it “the opposite of leadership.”
Burgum, who signed a 6-week ban in North Dakota, was the sole candidate to come out swinging against a federal ban, saying it would violate the principles of federalism in the Constitution.
It’s notable, as the candidates struggle with how far right they want to go on abortion, that the field in general is to the right of voters in New Hampshire, the first primary state, on the issue. Six in 10 New Hampshire voters opposed overturning Roe v. Wade. More than 70 percent identify as “pro-choice.” The state allows abortions up to 24 weeks of pregnancy, with some exceptions afterward. Candidates tend to downplay or not mention their abortion stances when campaigning in the state. DeSantis, for instance, doesn’t talk about the six-week ban he said in the debate he was “proud” to sign.
HALEY TOUTS THE EFFECTIVENESS OF BEING A WOMAN
Nikki Haley was the only woman on the Milwaukee debate stage Wednesday night.
And, within the first half hour of the program, the former South Carolina governor and U.N. ambassador made sure people knew that — stepping into a spat between former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and biotechnology entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy on climate change.
Haley offered up a riff on a Margaret Thatcher quote, “This is exactly why Margaret Thatcher said, ‘If you want something done, ask a man. If you want something done, ask a woman.’”
Minutes later, Haley fired back at former Vice President Mike Pence for touting that he would sign a 15-week abortion ban into law at the federal level — pointing out that there aren’t enough votes in the Senate to pass such a measure.
“No Republican president can ban abortions any more than a Democrat president can ban all those state laws,” Haley said. “Don’t make women feel like they have to decide on this issue when you know we don’t have 60 Senate votes.”
Haley has been eager to distinguish herself as the only prominent female candidate in a field full of men. GOP voters, however, haven’t been quick to embrace Haley just because of her gender.
“CLIMATE CHANGE IS A HOAX”
GOP candidates during the first Republican debate argued over climate change, with Vivek Ramaswamy calling it a hoax.
“I’m the only candidate on stage who isn’t bought and paid for, so I can say this,” Ramaswamy said, though he caught some shade. “Climate change is a hoax…The reality is more people are dying of bad climate change policies than they are of actual climate change.”
Ramaswamy’s remarks were booed by the crowd and slammed by former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who compared the entrepreneur to ChatGPT and former President Barack Obama.
The question started when Fox moderator Martha MacCallum asked: “Do you believe in human behavior causing climate change? Raise your hand if you do.”
Before anyone could make a move, Ron DeSantis took the floor.
“We are not schoolchildren. Let’s have the debate,” DeSantis said, before launching into a response bashing Biden and the media.
Former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, meanwhile, called for China and India to cut emissions.
“First of all, we do care about clean air, clean water. We want to see that taken care of, but there is a right way to do it. The right way is first of all, yes, is climate change real? Yes, it is. But if you want to go and really change the environment, we need to start telling China and India that they have to lower their emissions.”
CANDIDATES CLASH OVER THE WAR IN UKRAINE
The GOP divide on Ukraine was on full display during the debate, with Vivek Ramaswamy and Ron DeSantis saying they would cut off funding to Kyiv while others defended U.S. aid to the embattled nation.
“I find it offensive that we have professional politicians who will make a pilgrimage to Kyiv, to their pope, Zelenskyy, without doing the same for the people in Maui or the south side of Chicago,” he said, referring to President Volodymyr Zelenskyy of Ukraine.
DeSantis was more hedging, saying that he would stop aid to Ukraine unless European governments stepped up to “pull their weight.”
Those calls to stop Ukraine funding earned applause in the room, but were not shared by all candidates. Nikki Haley accused Ramaswamy of wanting to “hand Ukraine to Russia” and “let China eat Taiwan.”
“You are choosing a murderer” over an ally of the U.S., Haley said, referring to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“I wish you success on your future career on the boards of Lockheed and Raytheon,” Ramaswamy retorted, naming two large U.S. weapons manufacturers.
“You have no foreign policy experience and it shows,” Haley shot back, earning raucous applause in the arena.
HALEY GOES AFTER HER COMPETITORS ON SPENDING
Former South Carolina governor and U.N. ambassador Nikki Haley laid into four of her opponents for raising the national debt during the opening moments of the first GOP presidential debate in Milwaukee on Wednesday.
Haley took aim at former President Donald Trump for adding $8 trillion to the national debt, while also taking shots at Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) and former Vice President Mike Pence for voting to raise the debt ceiling during their time in Congress.
Republicans, she said, are responsible for the nation’s ailing economy, not President Joe Biden.
“No one is telling the American people the truth. The truth is that Biden didn’t do this to us, our Republicans did this to us too,” Haley said.
Haley pointed to $7.4 billion in earmarks requested by Republicans in the 2024 budget compared to the $2.8 billion asked for by Democrats.
“So you tell me who are the big spenders,” she said. “I think it’s time for an accountant in the White House.”
Haley additionally criticized the passage of the $2.2 trillion Covid-19 stimulus bill, as well as congressional action that required states to keep more than 90 million people continuously enrolled in Medicaid during the pandemic.
The link to the Politico report is here:
COMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS
The August 24 debate between the 8 Republican candidates for President can only be described as a political slugfest between 4 of the candidates who looked liked they were applying to be Trump’s Vice President as they talked and argued and at times yelled at each other. The three candidates who Trump would never likely think about making his running mate given their strong opposition to him are Mike Pence, Chris Christy and Asa Hutchinson. When it was all said and done, no candidates made a mistake that would end their candidacies. That does not matter because all 8 of the candidates are so far behind Trump in the Republican polls they might as well concede the election to him right now.
VIVEK RAMASWAMY IS DEBATE WINNER
If one was forced to declare the winner of the debate it was 38 year old businessman and billionaire Vivek Ramaswamy who essentially became the stand in for all things Trump. Ramaswamy is estimated by Forbes Magazine to to be worth at least $950 million and he made his money in “biotechnology” where the company he founded purchased patents from larger pharmaceutical companies for drugs that had not yet been successfully developed, and then bring them to the market.
Ramaswamy came across brash and confident, much like Trump, and is coming up in Republican polls tying at times with DeSantis. He can be described as Trump without the indictments and crimes but he is genuinely intelligent with a business degree from Harvard and a law degree from Yale law school, that is until he opens his big mouth. Ramaswamy is a vocal supporter and defender of all that is Trump and he has promised to pardon Trump if elected president. Ramaswamy has also promised to pardon Edward Snowden and Julian Assange, and has called Snowden’s actions “heroic”.
He opposes affirmative action, he opposes teaching critical race theory. He declares himself as pro-life, and has said, “I think abortion is murder.” He supports state-level six-week abortion bans, with exceptions for rape, incest, and danger to the woman’s life, but opposes any kind of federal ban.
Ramaswamy favors raising the standard voting age to 25, which would disenfranchise a portion of the U.S. electorate. Voters under 25 made up nearly 9% of voters in the 2020 general election. Ramaswamy has said he would allow citizens between 18 and 24 to vote only if they are enlisted in the military, work as first responders, or pass the civics test required for naturalization. Ramaswamy supports voter ID laws. Ramaswamy supports making Election Day a federal holiday while eliminating Juneteenth as federal holiday. Ramaswamy called Juneteenth, which celebrates the emancipation of African-Americans from slavery, a “useless” and “made up” holiday, and asserted it was “redundant” to Martin Luther King Jr. Day and Presidents Day.
Ramaswamy claims that climate change is a hoax but has said that he is “not a climate denier” and he accepts that burning fossil fuels causes climate change. He has said that global climate change as “not entirely bad” and that “people should be proud to live a high-carbon lifestyle” and that the U.S. should “drill, frack, and burn coal.” He has criticized what he calls the “climate cult” and said that as president, he would “abandon the anticarbon framework as it exists” and halt “any mandate to measure carbon dioxide“.
RAISING A HAND FOR TRUMP
The most memorable event during the debate was when all the candidates were asked if they would support Trump as the party’s nominee even if he was convicted of a crime. What came as a shock was that 6 of the 8 candidates raised their hands. Only Christie and Hutchinson indicated they would not support the former president again.
If that is the case, all 6 of those candidates have essentially conceded the race to Trump. Its a reflection of the strangle hold Trump not only has on the Republican party but as well as the candidates themselves. Not one of the 8 will win the nomination by trying to “Out Trump – Trump.” Supporting a convicted felon who said the constitution should be suspended is beyond comprehension. Trump should go ahead and plead guilty to all the charges and just go ahead and campaign for the Republican nomination as a convicted felon, but then again campaigning from a jail cell will be difficult for him.