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Takeaways From Fourth Republican Presidential Debate

Takeaways From Fourth Republican Presidential Debate
(Dreamstime)

Wednesday, 06 December 2023 09:24 PM EST

Four U.S. presidential contenders - the smallest field yet - debated in Alabama on Wednesday, all trying to survive to battle former President Donald Trump next year for the Republican nomination.

Here are some takeaways from the fourth Republican presidential debate:

HALEY IN THE BARREL

Former United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley isn’t leading the Republican pack. That position belongs to Trump, who once again skipped the debate.

But in a nod to the momentum Haley has been building over the last several weeks, she was immediately targeted in the first moments of the debate by her rivals on stage, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy.

Without being prompted, DeSantis accused Haley of not supporting a ban on gender-affirming medical care for transgender youth, something she denied. Ramaswamy hit Haley on her support from Wall Street donors and her time on the board of Boeing Co. “It adds up to the fact that you are corrupt,” he said.

Haley defended her work for Boeing and then mocked her rivals.

"In terms of these donors that are supporting me, they're just jealous,” Haley said. “They wish that they were supporting them." The crowd inside the auditorium roared.

After DeSantis and Ramaswamy continued to pile on, she smiled and said, “I love all the attention fellas, thank you for that."

DeSantis’ criticism, in particular, was a clear sign that he views Haley as an emerging threat to his goal to be the last candidate standing along with Trump after the Republican nominating contests begin next month. Haley now is essentially tied with DeSantis in Iowa and ahead of him in New Hampshire, the first two voting states of the primary race.

HITTING TRUMP ON CHINA

Haley, who at times has been criticized for not being tough enough on Trump, knocked the former president when she was asked about China.

Specifically, she said Trump didn’t do enough to stop the flow of fentanyl from China into the U.S. “This is where Trump went wrong,” Haley said. “Trump was good on trade, but that’s all he was with China.”

She also lashed out at Trump for not preventing Chinese interests from purchasing U.S. land.

DeSantis used the issue to attack Haley and said nothing abut Trump, blasting her for encouraging Chinese investment when she was governor of South Carolina and again suggesting that she was in the pocket of “Wall Street liberal donors.”

“They aren’t going to let her be tough on China,” DeSantis said.

“He’s just mad because those Wall Street donors used to support him and now they support me,” Haley retorted.

© 2024 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.


Politics
Four U.S. presidential contenders - the smallest field yet - debated in Alabama on Wednesday, all trying to survive to battle former President Donald Trump next year for the Republican nomination.Here are some takeaways from the fourth Republican presidential debate:HALEY...
debate
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2023-24-06
Wednesday, 06 December 2023 09:24 PM
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