By Guillermo Azabal
Simi Valley, United States, Sep 27 (EFE).- The second Republican candidate debate for the 2024 United States elections ended Wednesday with all participants united in their criticism of President Joe Biden’s government and in their repeated reproaches against Donald Trump, who was absent from the event.
During the event, hosted by the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California, the four criminal cases facing the former president were not addressed.
Trump remains the great favorite to compete again with Biden, whom he would currently surpass with 51 percent of support, above the 42 percent given to the Democrat according to a poll by The Washington Post and ABC News published Sunday.
This second Republican debate brought together former US Vice President Mike Pence; Florida Governor Ron DeSantis; businessman Vivek Ramaswamy; former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley; former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie; South Carolina Senator Tim Scott; and North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum.
Christie alluded to Trump in the first 10 minutes of the meeting, saying he “hides behind the walls of his golf club so as not to answer questions,” while DeSantis said he is “missing in action.”
Beyond that, Trump’s figure remained absent until the final stages of the debate. The former president was in Detroit to give a speech about the strike in the automobile sector, which since mid-September has seen pickets at Ford, Stellantis and General Motors factories.
The candidates were well aware that the common enemy was Biden. They evidenced this from the first minute with criticism of the current American president and his presence in the strike carried out by automotive workers in Detroit.
“He shouldn’t be on the picket line, but working to close our southern border,” Scott said, to which Pence added that Biden’s place is “the unemployment line.”
More forceful with the strikers was Ramaswamy, whose interventions were among the most applauded at the event, saying his suffering is understandable but that “victimhood is optional” and they should demonstrate in front of the White House and against Biden.
Migration to the US across the border with Mexico was another of the main themes of the meeting, managing to make the candidates agree on its supposed correlation with the fentanyl consumption crisis the country is experiencing and with the “need” to continue expanding the wall with Mexico.
Haley even pledged to deploy 25,000 more border agents to “contain” the entry of “six million undocumented people” and a crisis that “kills more Americans than the wars in Iraq, Vietnam or Afghanistan combined.”
Ramaswamy described the border as a “Swiss cheese” and, for his part, DeSantis put vehemence on fentanyl, promising that he will use the US military “against the Mexican cartels,” without specifying if he would be able to send them to Mexican soil.
On the other hand, the US economy and inflation were addressed, above all, by Haley, who lowered the discussion to the field of families with financial problems to face even health insurance.
“If I am president, we will change everything. “The first thing we need is to be transparent,” said the only woman in that race.
The economic segment, however, was deeply marked by China and its relationship with American companies.
DeSantis said he would emulate former President Reagan to regain “real power” in the Indo-Pacific and deter Chinese “ambitions” within the United States.
According to the average of surveys prepared by the FiveThirtyEight website, behind Trump (55.1 percent), the governor of Florida is the one with the most possibilities for the Republican nomination with 13.3 percent of voting intentions, followed by Ramaswamy and Haley.
“We need to focus on companies that produce in America and support them, not help those that help China,” Haley said in a heated debate.
The quote slightly overlooked issues such as reproductive rights or sexual freedom, but one of the sharpest statements of the afternoon came again from Ramawsamy when he stated that “transsexuality, especially in children, is a mental disorder.”