Republican Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Green, a Donald Trump loyalist, said Wednesday in Milwaukee that the eight Republicans participating in the 2024 presidential primary debate should withdraw and give their support to the former president who is facing four impeachments. No one walked away, but six out of eight raised their hands saying they would support Trump if he were nominated, even if he were convicted. Among them, Florida’s governor, Ron DeSantis, seemed hesitant, to see what …
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Republican Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Green, a staunch devotee of Donald Trump, said Wednesday in Milwaukee that the eight Republicans participating in the 2024 presidential primary debate should withdraw and support the former president, who is facing four impeachments. No one walked away, but six out of eight raised their hands saying they would support Trump if he were nominated, even if he were convicted. Among them, Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida, is hesitant to wait to see what others have done before raising his hand. That indecision was one of the viral moments of the debate that DeSantis wasted in closing the enormous gap that separated him from Trump by more than 35 points.
Vivek Ramaswani, a 38-year-old billionaire businessman of Indian origin, stole the limelight with his millennial Trumpism, third in the poll. Trump, despite his absence, comes out strong.
The DeSantis campaign laid out a strategy for the debate, according to a document it posted online, then backtracked on: 1. Attack Biden. 2. Protect your vision. 3. “Damn Ramaswami in a reply.” 4. “Defending Absent Donald Trump Against Chris Christie’s Attack.” It met the first and second points of not being very original. But unlike former Vice President Mike Pence, former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Trump’s former UN ambassador Nikki Haley, he hasn’t gone toe-to-toe with Ramaswamy. Ramasamy himself stepped up and defended Trump when the former New Jersey governor attacked him.
With the distinction of opening and closing debates and occupying the podium’s prime spot, DeSantis — second in the polls, though more than 35 points ahead of Trump — was expected to be the center of attention. However, he gave no memorable rebuttal, rivals seemed to ignore him, and his performance was reduced to a few interminable monologues (on the economy, the use of “deadly force” on the border with Mexico and beyond, his administration in Florida, especially in the pandemic; or the impeachment against Joe Biden’s son, Hunter Biden). Conducted), but without glamor or naturalness. Almost worse, it was boring. The debate, a Fox News blockbuster with thousands and millions of viewers in Milwaukee at the Bucks Pavilion, is a missed opportunity for him.
Ramasamy fills the void without Trump. He is a self-proclaimed Trump fanatic who doesn’t understand why he’s running in the primary against what he considers “the best American president of the 21st century.” He supported the “climate change is a hoax” hoax. He promised to stop supporting Ukraine and “its Pope Zelensky”. He positioned himself as Trump’s protégé and eager successor, thereby winning over a majority of Trump’s base among Republicans.
“Who is this skinny guy with the weird last name?” As Chris Christie reminded him, Obama began to introduce himself. The guy who looks like ChatGPT. Christie and Pence called him an “amateur” and a “rookie” while describing him as free from the shackles of professional politicians. In an exchange on Ukraine, Haley also pointed out that she has “no foreign policy experience, and it shows,” and the public backed her up. But the fact that most of the attacks come from the two most unpopular candidates among Republicans bolsters him. Ramasamy seemed to be enjoying a show drawing the spotlight. The US media is pointing to him as the winner.
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Haley, the only woman, scored points with her practical and rational speech, calling for a fundamental consensus on abortion and demonstrating her foreign policy expertise. But foreign policy won’t win elections. Sen. Tim Scott, North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum and former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson are ineligible.
Pence walked out of the debate with the goal of explaining to Republicans that he does not have the authority to overturn Biden’s victory in the 2020 presidential election, as Trump has demanded, without ignoring the Constitution. Ramasamy didn’t speak, but DeSantis, Burgum, Haley, Scott and, most of all, Christie openly acknowledged this.
Christie has been the most vocal critic of Trump. Regardless of whether or not the criminal charges against the president were justified, he argued that his behavior was “unfit for the presidency of the United States,” drawing cheers from the audience. He accomplished his objective, but he had little chance of securing the nomination with that speech, which ignited debate in the short quarter-hour devoted to the former president.
Trump escapes unscathed. Around the same time the debate began, controversial conservative communicator Tucker Carlson rolled out the red carpet for him in a friendly pre-recorded interview that racked up 200 million views on X, old Twitter, Thursday morning. Trump, he argued, would rather be “harassed by people who shouldn’t even be running for president.” The former president, who appeared to be booked for his fourth impeachment in Atlanta this Thursday, will not go to the second debate in Simi Valley (California) on September 27, in which the first two candidates may fall. Their absentee voting intention in polls.
The no-debate strategy had certain risks. The point is that DeSantis, who was not his immediate follower, became a great protagonist and grew in exchanges. Not even remotely. Ramasamy, a staunch Trump supporter, was the center of attention. No one is particularly smart. And even though he was found guilty in one of the four cases in which he was charged, six of the eight candidates supported him, another victory for him.
For all these reasons, Amy Walter, editor of the influential Cook Political Report, concludes that Trump won the first debate. “If Trump’s rivals don’t believe in disqualifying him if convicted, why should Republican voters?” He is surprised.
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