Second Republican debate for the 2024 presidential election, once again overshadowed by Trump

Immigration, economy, Ukraine

Second Republican debate for the 2024 presidential election, once again overshadowed by Trump

Immigration, economy, Ukraine...: seven Republican candidates for the 2024 US presidential election clashed on Wednesday during a new tense televised debate, reserving their sharpest barbs for Donald Trump, big favorite in the primaries and big absentee from the evening.

“Donald, I know you’re watching us,” said former New Jersey governor Chris Christie, pointing his finger at the camera. “You are not here tonight, not because of the polls, not because of your indictments, but because you are afraid,” he assured.

Following the same strategy as in the first debate in August, the former president chose to snub this broadcast, an important step in the long road to the White House, due, according to him, to his very large lead in Republican opinion polls. .

The septuagenarian was instead in Michigan, intentionally at the same time as the debate, to court the working-class auto electorate to whom his Democratic rival, President Joe Biden, had reached out Tuesday.

Divided on issues such as aid to Ukraine, the seven candidates -- six men and one woman -- this time debated for two hours, in exchanges often turning into cacophony.

The candidates also focused on economic issues, criticizing at length the record of the Democratic president whom they are trying to dislodge from the White House.

“Joe Biden’s climate policy is good for Beijing, terrible for Detroit,” scathed former Vice-President Mike Pence, referring to the cradle of the United States automobile.

But it is around Donald Trump that the strongest sequences of the show were filmed. Because this time, his rivals held back much less.

“Donald Trump is missing, he should be on this stage tonight to defend his record,” tackled Ron DeSantis, who was seen by some conservatives as the next generation of the Republican Party, but whose rating has plummeted in surveys of opinion.

The governor of Florida, who stood out with his shocking positions on abortion, LGBT issues and immigration, is now behind Donald Trump by more than 40 points, according to the poll aggregator RealClearPolitics.

This is the paradox: four months before the first primaries, Donald Trump, criminally charged four times, continues to crush all competition, still benefiting from massive support from his tide of supporters in red caps.

The Republican billionaire already assures himself that he is planning a possible remake of the 2020 election -- devoting the vast majority of his attacks to Joe Biden, the octogenarian president candidate for re-election in November 2024.

The two rivals had a close duel this week in Michigan, currently the scene of a major social conflict.

Joe Biden appeared, arm in arm, with union leaders on Tuesday, supporting a strike picket of auto workers.

“Joe Biden claims to be the most union-friendly president in history. It’s absurd,” Donald Trump scolded Wednesday evening from a factory manufacturing spare parts in the greater suburbs of Detroit.

The Republican strongly criticized his successor's environmental policy centered on the development of electric cars.

Michigan, bordering Canada, created a surprise by electing Donald Trump in 2016 over Hillary Clinton. It will be one of the most contested states in the 2024 presidential election.

Aware of having crushed the debate due to his absence, Donald Trump published on his social network an image of his shadow covering the entire platform where his seven rivals were debating.

09/28/2023 05:20:45 -         Simi Valley (United States) (AFP) -         © 2023 AFP