Live updates: The 2nd GOP debate takes place in California, once again without Trump
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Live updates: The 2nd GOP debate takes place in California, once again without Trump

The second 2024 Republican presidential debate is taking place at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California. The field’s early front-runner, Donald Trump, is skipping the event, just as he did the first. He’ll be 2,000 miles away trying to woo union workers in Michigan amid a labor strike.The candidates on stage will be Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, former Vice President Mike Pence, entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy, Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina, former United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley, former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum.The debate began at 9 p.m. ET. Follow along for live updates below:Trump gets a nickname of his own: Donald DuckChristie has a new name for Trump — Donald Duck.A former ally who broke with Trump over his election denial, Christie awarded the moniker to the absent Republican front-runner for skipping the debate.Speaking into the camera, Christie said, “I know you’re watching” because “you can’t help yourself.” And he accused Trump of being absent because “you’re afraid of being on this stage and defending your record.”“No one up here is going to call you Donald Trump anymore. We’re going to call you Donald Duck.”Pence reminds voters of his time as VPPence is using his time onstage to remind viewers he’s a White House alumnus.Twice asked a question about working to protect immigrants from deportation if they came with their parents as young children, Pence ignored it and emphasized his resume instead.The former vice president recalled how during the Trump administration, he had negotiated the policy to make asylum seekers wait in Mexico for court hearings in the U.S.“This is no time for on the job training,” Pence said. “I’m going to be ready on Day 1.”Scott accuses Ramaswamy of being in business with CCPScott briefly shed his Mr. Nice Guy reputation to flame Ramaswamy for being “in business with the Chinese Communist Party.”The attack line, a reference to Ramaswamy’s former career as an entrepreneur, fulfilled a promise from Scott’s campaign that the South Carolina senator would be more aggressive after being overshadowed in the first debate.Ramaswamy responded angrily, leading to a long stretch of crosstalk that the moderators struggled to rein in.“When you all speak at the same time, no can understand you,” said Univision anchor Ilia Calderón.Some of DeSantis’ ideas for China match Biden’s actionsDeSantis says the United States needs a “totally new approach to China.”Part of what he calls for Biden is already doing. That includes strengthening U.S. hard power in the Indo-Pacific. DeSantis does call for “decoupling” the U.S. economy from China.Biden is trying to wean the U.S. supply chain off China but denies seeking to decouple the two economies.Burgum not waiting for his turnBurgum is looking for more talking time — and he’s not being shy about it.The North Dakota governor interjected a couple of times in the first 20 minutes of Wednesday night’s debate, talking over moderators and his fellow hopefuls, in one response interjecting, “Nobody answered the question” after others were asked about child care.“We will get you some questions,” said moderator Dana Perino. “But you will have to let us move on.”There have already been several moments where the moderators struggled to get candidates to stop talking among themselves and focus on the question at hand.Candidates agree US economic future should be powered by gasGOP presidential candidates started their second debate by mostly agreeing that the U.S. economic future should be powered by gasoline.In lockstep, they all demonized the Biden administration’s support for electric vehicles. It’s a shift that is meant to limit the damages of climate change, but presidential candidates say it would hurt the U.S. auto sector and enrich China. The unanimity reflected the challenge candidates face to stand out on policy issues.“Joe Biden’s Green New Deal agenda is good for Beijing and bad for Detroit,” Pence said.Burgum said unionized autoworkers are striking because their employers “need two-thirds less workers to build an electric car.”Ramaswamy went to his refrain that he would “unlock American energy, drill, frack, burn coal, embrace nuclear energy.”DeSantis takes early swing at Trump in debateAfter taking criticism for going soft on Trump, DeSantis took a swing at him early in the debate.“And you know who is missing in action? Donald Trump is missing in action,” DeSantis said, blasting the former president for skipping the debate.The criticism came shortly after a similar attack from Christie, who said Trump “hides behind the walls of his golf clubs” instead of answering questions.DeSantis’ swipe at Trump marks a definite shift for the Florida governor, who largely avoided pointed criticism of the former president in the first debate.Scott angling to be more of the conversationScott didn’t have much talking time during the first GOP debate, but he started to make up for that as soon as Wednesday night’s gathering got underway.The first question went to Scott, who caught criticism for saying “you strike, you’re fired” about the United Auto Workers dispute. Scott quipped that Biden “should not be on the picket line, he should be on the southern border,” turning the rest of his answer to concerns about border security.Scott also was asked to respond after Pence said Biden “belongs on the unemployment line,” saying he disagreed with Scott.“There’s no doubt that Joe Biden needs to be fired,” Scott said. “That’s why I’m running for president.”Republicans turn questions about autoworkers strike into Biden attackThe debate started with questions about the United Auto Workers strike, but the Republicans kept the focus squarely on Biden.“Joe Biden should not be on the picket line. He should be on the southern border,” said Scott, who got the first question.Next up was Ramaswamy, who said the workers should “go picket in front of the White House in Washington, D.C.,” because “that’s really where the protest needs to be.”Pence took a swing at it next. “Joe Biden doesn’t belong on the picket line. He belongs on the unemployment line.”Trump calls his rivals ‘the job candidates’As his rivals got ready to debate Wednesday night, Trump was railing against electric cars in a speech in Michigan.Trump, speaking at a non-union manufacturing plant outside out of Detroit, briefly referenced the proceedings about to begin in California.“We’re competing with the job candidates,” he said of his rivals. “They’re all job candidates, they want to be in the — they’ll do anything. Secretary of something. They even say VP, does anybody see any VP in the group? I don’t think so.”Biden zeroed in on GOP candidate missing from debateSeven candidates will be on stage for the second Republican primary debate, but Biden is keeping his focus on the one who isn’t there — Trump.It’s a logical choice when the former president is the runaway favorite for his party’s 2024 nomination.“Donald Trump and the MAGA Republicans are determined to destroy this democracy,” Biden said Tuesday night at a California fundraiser.Biden plans to deliver his fourth in a series of presidential addresses about the state of democracy during a visit to Arizona on Thursday.The debate beginsThe second Republican presidential debate is underway in California.It’s being moderated by Fox Business Network host Stuart Varney and Fox News Channel host Dana Perino, as well as Univision anchor Ilia Calderón.The event is airing on Fox News Channel and Fox Business, as well as on the network’s website and other streaming and digital platforms. There’s also a Spanish-language feed airing on Univision.Here’s some important questions that may be answered tonightThe first debate was dominated by Ramaswamy, who swung at everyone else on stage and was targeted in return. Will he seek the spotlight in the same way?Haley had a comparatively strong showing last time. Does she become a target?The pressure remains on DeSantis, who has sunk substantially in polls from his high point earlier this year. Will he be more aggressive?The biggest question is whether anyone on the stage will be playing to win. So far the campaign has been all about jostling for second place while Trump hogs the spotlight. Will any of the candidates target the front-runner, or will they keep hanging back and hoping for a political miracle?

The second 2024 Republican presidential debate is taking place at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California. The field’s early front-runner, Donald Trump, is skipping the event, just as he did the first. He’ll be 2,000 miles away trying to woo union workers in Michigan amid a labor strike.

The candidates on stage will be Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, former Vice President Mike Pence, entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy, Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina, former United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley, former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum.

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The debate began at 9 p.m. ET. Follow along for live updates below:

Trump gets a nickname of his own: Donald Duck

Christie has a new name for Trump — Donald Duck.

A former ally who broke with Trump over his election denial, Christie awarded the moniker to the absent Republican front-runner for skipping the debate.

Speaking into the camera, Christie said, “I know you’re watching” because “you can’t help yourself.” And he accused Trump of being absent because “you’re afraid of being on this stage and defending your record.”

“No one up here is going to call you Donald Trump anymore. We’re going to call you Donald Duck.”

Pence reminds voters of his time as VP

Pence is using his time onstage to remind viewers he’s a White House alumnus.

Twice asked a question about working to protect immigrants from deportation if they came with their parents as young children, Pence ignored it and emphasized his resume instead.

The former vice president recalled how during the Trump administration, he had negotiated the policy to make asylum seekers wait in Mexico for court hearings in the U.S.

“This is no time for on the job training,” Pence said. “I’m going to be ready on Day 1.”

Scott accuses Ramaswamy of being in business with CCP

Scott briefly shed his Mr. Nice Guy reputation to flame Ramaswamy for being “in business with the Chinese Communist Party.”

The attack line, a reference to Ramaswamy’s former career as an entrepreneur, fulfilled a promise from Scott’s campaign that the South Carolina senator would be more aggressive after being overshadowed in the first debate.

Ramaswamy responded angrily, leading to a long stretch of crosstalk that the moderators struggled to rein in.

“When you all speak at the same time, no can understand you,” said Univision anchor Ilia Calderón.

Some of DeSantis’ ideas for China match Biden’s actions

DeSantis says the United States needs a “totally new approach to China.”

Part of what he calls for Biden is already doing. That includes strengthening U.S. hard power in the Indo-Pacific. DeSantis does call for “decoupling” the U.S. economy from China.

Biden is trying to wean the U.S. supply chain off China but denies seeking to decouple the two economies.

Burgum not waiting for his turn

Burgum is looking for more talking time — and he’s not being shy about it.

The North Dakota governor interjected a couple of times in the first 20 minutes of Wednesday night’s debate, talking over moderators and his fellow hopefuls, in one response interjecting, “Nobody answered the question” after others were asked about child care.

Former Governor of New Jersey Chris Christie looks on as North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum speaks during the second Republican presidential primary debate at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California, on September 27, 2023. (Photo by Robyn BECK / AFP) (Photo by ROBYN BECK/AFP via Getty Images)

ROBYN BECK

Former Governor of New Jersey Chris Christie looks on as North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum speaks during the second Republican presidential primary debate at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California, on September 27, 2023.

“We will get you some questions,” said moderator Dana Perino. “But you will have to let us move on.”

There have already been several moments where the moderators struggled to get candidates to stop talking among themselves and focus on the question at hand.

Candidates agree US economic future should be powered by gas

GOP presidential candidates started their second debate by mostly agreeing that the U.S. economic future should be powered by gasoline.

In lockstep, they all demonized the Biden administration’s support for electric vehicles. It’s a shift that is meant to limit the damages of climate change, but presidential candidates say it would hurt the U.S. auto sector and enrich China. The unanimity reflected the challenge candidates face to stand out on policy issues.

“Joe Biden’s Green New Deal agenda is good for Beijing and bad for Detroit,” Pence said.

Burgum said unionized autoworkers are striking because their employers “need two-thirds less workers to build an electric car.”

Ramaswamy went to his refrain that he would “unlock American energy, drill, frack, burn coal, embrace nuclear energy.”

DeSantis takes early swing at Trump in debate

After taking criticism for going soft on Trump, DeSantis took a swing at him early in the debate.

“And you know who is missing in action? Donald Trump is missing in action,” DeSantis said, blasting the former president for skipping the debate.

SIMI VALLEY, CALIFORNIA - SEPTEMBER 27: Republican presidential candidate Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis delivers remarks during the FOX Business Republican Primary Debate at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library on September 27, 2023 in Simi Valley, California. Seven presidential hopefuls squared off in the second Republican primary debate as former U.S. President Donald Trump, currently facing indictments in four locations, declined again to participate. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Justin Sullivan

Republican presidential candidate Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis delivers remarks during the FOX Business Republican Primary Debate at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library on September 27, 2023 in Simi Valley, California.

The criticism came shortly after a similar attack from Christie, who said Trump “hides behind the walls of his golf clubs” instead of answering questions.

DeSantis’ swipe at Trump marks a definite shift for the Florida governor, who largely avoided pointed criticism of the former president in the first debate.

Scott angling to be more of the conversation

Scott didn’t have much talking time during the first GOP debate, but he started to make up for that as soon as Wednesday night’s gathering got underway.

The first question went to Scott, who caught criticism for saying “you strike, you’re fired” about the United Auto Workers dispute. Scott quipped that Biden “should not be on the picket line, he should be on the southern border,” turning the rest of his answer to concerns about border security.

Scott also was asked to respond after Pence said Biden “belongs on the unemployment line,” saying he disagreed with Scott.

“There’s no doubt that Joe Biden needs to be fired,” Scott said. “That’s why I’m running for president.”

Republicans turn questions about autoworkers strike into Biden attack

The debate started with questions about the United Auto Workers strike, but the Republicans kept the focus squarely on Biden.

“Joe Biden should not be on the picket line. He should be on the southern border,” said Scott, who got the first question.

Next up was Ramaswamy, who said the workers should “go picket in front of the White House in Washington, D.C.,” because “that’s really where the protest needs to be.”

Pence took a swing at it next. “Joe Biden doesn’t belong on the picket line. He belongs on the unemployment line.”

Trump calls his rivals ‘the job candidates’

As his rivals got ready to debate Wednesday night, Trump was railing against electric cars in a speech in Michigan.

Trump, speaking at a non-union manufacturing plant outside out of Detroit, briefly referenced the proceedings about to begin in California.

“We’re competing with the job candidates,” he said of his rivals. “They’re all job candidates, they want to be in the — they’ll do anything. Secretary of something. They even say VP, does anybody see any VP in the group? I don’t think so.”

Biden zeroed in on GOP candidate missing from debate

Seven candidates will be on stage for the second Republican primary debate, but Biden is keeping his focus on the one who isn’t there — Trump.

It’s a logical choice when the former president is the runaway favorite for his party’s 2024 nomination.

“Donald Trump and the MAGA Republicans are determined to destroy this democracy,” Biden said Tuesday night at a California fundraiser.

Biden plans to deliver his fourth in a series of presidential addresses about the state of democracy during a visit to Arizona on Thursday.

The debate begins

The second Republican presidential debate is underway in California.

It’s being moderated by Fox Business Network host Stuart Varney and Fox News Channel host Dana Perino, as well as Univision anchor Ilia Calderón.

The event is airing on Fox News Channel and Fox Business, as well as on the network’s website and other streaming and digital platforms. There’s also a Spanish-language feed airing on Univision.

SIMI VALLEY, CALIFORNIA - SEPTEMBER 27: Republican presidential candidates (L-R), North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum, former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, Vivek Ramaswamy, U.S. Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) and former U.S. Vice President Mike Pence are introduced during the FOX Business Republican Primary Debate at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library on September 27, 2023 in Simi Valley, California. Seven presidential hopefuls squared off in the second Republican primary debate as former U.S. President Donald Trump, currently facing indictments in four locations, declined again to participate. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Mario Tama

Republican presidential candidates (L-R), North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum, former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, Vivek Ramaswamy, U.S. Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) and former U.S. Vice President Mike Pence are introduced during the FOX Business Republican Primary Debate at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library on September 27, 2023 in Simi Valley, California.

Here’s some important questions that may be answered tonight

The first debate was dominated by Ramaswamy, who swung at everyone else on stage and was targeted in return. Will he seek the spotlight in the same way?

Haley had a comparatively strong showing last time. Does she become a target?

The pressure remains on DeSantis, who has sunk substantially in polls from his high point earlier this year. Will he be more aggressive?

The biggest question is whether anyone on the stage will be playing to win. So far the campaign has been all about jostling for second place while Trump hogs the spotlight. Will any of the candidates target the front-runner, or will they keep hanging back and hoping for a political miracle?

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