Eight doomed Republican presidential contenders graced the stage last night, marking the commencement of the GOP’s inaugural primary debate. Though not physically present, the influence of former President Trump reverberated through the proceedings.
The debate, a significant event held in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, was thoughtfully orchestrated by Fox News, with seasoned anchors Bret Baier and Martha MacCallum serving as moderators. The roster of participants included respected figures such as Ron DeSantis, Vivek Ramaswamy, Nikki Haley, Tim Scott, Mike Pence, Chris Christie, Asa Hutchinson, and Doug Burgum.
While the polling numbers favor Florida’s Governor Ron DeSantis, an interesting standout was the fresh face in politics, Vivek Ramaswamy.
Google Trends revealed that Vivek Ramaswamy garnered the most online attention during the debate, with Nikki Haley following at a considerable distance, and Ron DeSantis securing the third spot.
Here are the top 5 viral moments from the event.
This moment of hesitation that will really haunt Desantis
When asked about supporting Trump if he secures the GOP nomination despite legal entanglements, Vivek was the first to demonstrate his loyalty and raise his hands. Subsequently, Haley, Scott, and Burgum also signaled their support. DeSantis, after a joined the group only after looking around and seeing the other hands raised, and Pence followed suit. Notably, Christie and Hutchinson refrained.
America First vs America Last on Ukraine
On the subject of providing additional funding to Ukraine, Ramaswamy and DeSantis expressed nuanced views. DeSantis urged for European nations to play a more substantial role, while Ramaswamy emphasized the importance of prioritizing domestic concerns over international involvements. Meanwhile, Haley defended the significance of assisting Ukraine as a defense measure.
The hot takes on abortion
The debate heated up regarding a proposed six-week abortion ban. Haley presented the practical challenges of garnering sufficient support for such a ban, while Pence upheld its moral righteousness. DeSantis, while not definitively responding, cited Florida’s comparable legislation and criticized the Democrats’ stance.
When Nikki Haley got wonky and annoying about debt
A surprising twist came when Nikki Haley held Republicans, including Trump, accountable for the nation’s debt increase. This assertion was met with pushback, particularly from Pence who stood by the fiscal decisions made. Biden’s team swiftly capitalized on this moment, sharing it across social media platforms.
Vivek calls climate change a bunch of fake news
A daring assertion came from Ramaswamy who boldly challenged the climate change agenda, labeling it a fabrication. He argued that the economy suffers more from counterproductive policies than from any actual climate shifts. Chris Christie responded wryly, likening Ramaswamy’s remarks to AI-generated content.