On Wednesday, September 27, the second GOP debate came to an end, featuring seven candidates competing for prominence on the stage. The contenders in this debate included Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, former Vice President Mike Pence, entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy, Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina, former United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley, former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, and North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum
Donald Trump again skipped the event as he touts himself as the undeclared GOP presidential nominee, a claim backed by poll numbers. The majority of GOP voters believe Trump would be the best candidate to stymie President Joe Biden’s bid for a second term.
Indian American candidate Ramaswamy talked about the ongoing United Auto Workers strike, saying that the country was in dire need to ‘unlock American energy.’
“What we need is to deliver economic growth in this country. Unlock American energy. Drill, frack, burn coal, embrace nuclear energy, put people back to work by no longer paying them more money to stay at home, stabilize the US dollar itself and rescind a majority of those unconstitutional federal regulations that are hampering our economy. That is how we unleash American exceptionalism,” he said at the event aired by Fox News.
GOP candidates on Donald Trump
Trump’s main rival in the Republican party Ron DeSantis directly called out his absence at the event, saying, “Donald Trump is missing in action.”
Apart from Chris Christie, all GOP candidates refrained from making direct attacks on the former president. The fact that Trump remains too popular among Republicans prevents his GOP rivals from savaging him too harshly.
But Christie pulled no punches. “You’re not here tonight because you’re afraid of being on the stage and defending your record,” he said addressing the former president.
On immigration, Chris Christie again took a shot at Donald Trump, calling his immigration policies a total failure. “Treat this like the law enforcement problem that it is,” said Christie. “Our laws are being broken every day at the southern border. And Joe Biden and his crew are letting it go,” he added.
“Donald Trump failed on this as well,” he added while complaining that he failed to build his wall on the border with Mexico.
Nikki Haley said border agents of the country were not being allowed to do their jobs honestly. “Go back to the Remain in Mexico Policy. Instead of catch-and-release go back to catch-and-deport,” she said.
Ramaswamy said the US needed to militarise the border heavily. “Militarise the southern border, stop funding sanctuary cities and end foreign aid to Mexico and Central America,” he said.
DeSantis also talked about taking on China, a topic he dubbed as fundamental. “This issue of China is really going to be fundamental,” he said, adding that it is essential that the US beat out China on the economy.
He added that the US has “contracted out the majority of our needs” to Chinese companies.
On Ukraine aid
DeSantis said he wouldn’t give Ukraine a “blank cheque” but added it was in the USA’s interest to end the war.
Tim Scott says 90 per cent of the resources sent to Ukraine are part of a loan that the US can expect to get paid back by NATO allies.
Mike Pence vehemently supported giving Ukraine aid, adding that ceasing the aid would mean giving the “green light to China to take Taiwan”.
Chris Christie said tackling the Russia-China alliance was his biggest agenda.