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GOP debate key moments: The highlights from the 2nd Republican candidates face off

The second GOP primary debate may have been missing frontrunner, Donald Trump, but that doesn’t mean there was a shortage of highlights

The second GOP primary debate may have been missing frontrunner, Donald Trump, but that doesn't mean there was a shortage of highlights

What a night. Though Donald Trump, the current GOP primary frontrunner, was not present, Wednesday night’s GOP primary debate had its fair share of memorable moments. The seven qualified candidates came prepared with attacks, one-liners, and a desire to separate themselves from the pack. Considering that the total support for all of the candidates put together does not reach that of Donald Trump, it will take more than a “moment” on a debate stage to secure their party’s nomination.

Who was present at the debate?

To qualify, candidates had to have received at least 50,000 individual donations and at least three percent of support in one of two polls chosen by the Republican National Committee. Those who met the benchmark included:

  • Doug Burgum, Governor of North Dakota
  • Chris Christie, Former Governor of New Jersey 
  • Ron DeSantis, Governor of Florida 
  • Nikki Haley, Former Governor of South Carolina and Former United Nations ambassador under Donald Trump
  • Mike Pence, Former Vice President
  • Vivek Ramaswamy, Entrepreneur 
  • Tim Scott, Senator of South Carolina 

Biggest moments of the night

Chris Christie and Ron DeSantis took turns taking jabs at Donald Trump for not showing up to the debate... again. Both said that Trump should participate in the debate to defend his record, with DeSantis calling attention to the fact that the federal debt grew by trillions of dollars under the Trump administration. Christie followed up his attack by threatening Trump that if he did not show up to the next debate, he would begin calling him Donald Duck... unsurprisingly, that punch did not land as well as the Christie camp intended.

Mike Pence focused his attention on Presidnet Biden, saying that instead of standing on picket lines, he should head to the unemployment line... The former vice president also attacked the transgender community by calling for bans on gender-affirming care for children, suggestions that have been rejected by the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Nikki Haley and Tim Scott lodged various attacks at Vivek Ramaswamy for his business dealings in China and his attempts to use TikTok to reach out to younger voters.