2024 GOP PRESIDENTIAL DEBATE: Live Updates As Eight Republicans Face Off In Milwaukee
2024 Republican presidential candidates Asa Hutchinson, from left, Chris Christie, former Vice President Mike Pence, Ron DeSantis, Vivek Ramaswamy, Nikki Haley, Senator Tim Scott and Doug Burgum during the Republican primary presidential debate hosted by Fox News in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, US, on Wednesday, Aug. 23, 2023. Republican presidential contenders are facing off in their first debate of the primary season, minus frontrunner Donald Trump, who continues to lead his GOP rivals by a double-digit margin.
Photographer: Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Image.

The first 2024 Republican presidential debate is here. Eight candidates, including a cadre of governors and former governors, will face off for the first time in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, at a debate hosted by Fox News anchors Bret Baier and Martha MacCallum. Candidates participating in the debate include Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, tech entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy, former Vice President Mike Pence, former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, South Carolina Senator Tim Scott, former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, former Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson, and North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum. Former President Donald Trump, the current GOP frontrunner, will not participate, opting to take part in a sit-down interview with former Fox News Host Tucker Carlson. Follow The Daily Wire’s Republican presidential debate live blog here: Refresh for updates.

Christie Asked About UFOs

Christie was asked about UFOs and responded by joking about New Jersey and unidentified flying objects. He pivoted, saying lawmakers should be focused on China instead.

DeSantis Says He Does Not Support Mandatory Military Service

DeSantis says he supports voluntary military service, references his own service in the aftermath of 9/11.

Scott Takes Aim At Teachers Unions

Scott said key to fixing education crisis was beating the backs of the education unions.

Pence Says President Should Not Be Too Old Or Too Young

In comments likely targeting Trump and Ramaswamy, Pence says that he trusts that the American people will not chose a president too old or too young. Ramaswamy responds by saying that he thinks a new generation should take leadership and be president.

DeSantis Says He’ll Send Troops To Southern Border, Not Ukraine

“As president of the United States, your first obligation is to defend our country and its people. You’re sending all this money [to Ukraine], but you’re not doing what we need to do to secure our own border,” DeSantis said over the objections of Nikki Haley, who argued “we can do both at the same time.”

“Well we’re not handling both,” DeSantis shot back. The Florida governor also said that he would send special forces to deal with cartels and treat them as terrorists organizations. 

Haley Hits Ramaswamy on Foreign Policy

Haley slammed Ramaswamy on his foreign policy stances. “You have no foreign policy experience and it shows,” she said. Haley went on to tell viewers and audience members that America would be less safe under a President Ramaswamy.

Burgum references overdose deaths

Burgum referenced the thousands of drug overdose deaths, highlights need to secure the border.

DeSantis, Ramaswamy Only Candidates To Challenge Aid For Ukraine

DeSantis and Ramaswamy were the only two candidates on stage who challenged the federal government’s continued funding for Ukraine in its war against Russia. DeSantis argued that Europe needs “to pull its weight” while Ramaswamy said that the U.S. must defend its own border before defending other nations’ borders.

Pence and Ramaswamy Argue Over Ukraine Aid

Pence argues for more American aid to Ukraine while Ramaswamy says no more money should be sent to Ukraine. Ramaswamy says more focus should be on communist China and on southern border while Pence says America can support all of the above.

Pence: American People Need To Know Trump Asked Me To Put Him Over Constitution

Pence defended his actions on January 6, 2021, saying that he had no power to contest election results.

Most candidates say they would support Trump if he’s convicted then becomes nominee

When asked if they would support Trump if he is convicted and then became the GOP nominee for president, DeSantis, Ramaswamy, Haley, Pence, Scott, and Burgum all raised their hands while Hutchinson kept his hand down.

Candidates backs up Pence over decision to go forward with certification of the 2020 election

Christie, Haley, and Scott both backed up Pence over his actions on January 6, 2021.

Ramaswamy and Christie clash over Trump

Ramaswamy and Christie went after each other over stance on actions of former President Donald Trump. Christie said Trump’s behavior was “inexcusable” while Ramaswamy defended Trump.

DeSantis notes he’s the only one who has fired Soros prosecutors

When asked on crime, DeSantis cites his suspension of two Soros backed prosecutors.

Pence and Ramaswamy Go After Each Other On American Identity 

Ramaswamy says that Americans are having an identity issue. Pence disagrees, saying that “We don’t need a new identity, Vivek!” Pence says America needs a government that matches its people. “The American people are the most faith-filled, freedom-loving, idealistic, hardworking people the world has ever known. We just need government as good as our people,” Pence added. 

Ramaswamy shot back, saying that America is in a dark moment and a “cold civil war.”

Chris Christie Goes After Hunter Biden

Christie says Hunter Biden would go to jail for ten years if he was president, saying law should apply equally to everybody.

Burgum says he would not ban abortion at federal level

Burgum says that based on the 10th Amendment that he would not support a federal abortion ban. Scott says Republicans should support a 15 week abortion ban at the minimum.

Haley and Pence Clash over abortion

Haley and Pence went after each other over congressional abortion legislation. Haley said there was not enough support in Senate to pass more narrow abortion legislation. Pence says that Republicans should push for abortion bans when the unborn child can feel pain.

Scott goes after rivals for arguing. 

Senator Scott went after Christie and Ramaswamy, saying that going back and forth “like children” won’t help the country.

Haley cites her gender as a reason to vote for her

Haley said that fighting from other male candidates was a reason to vote for her. She said that you need to rely on a woman to get something done.

Ramaswamy booed after accusing all of the candidates of being bought and paid for

Ramaswamy was booed by the audience after saying all the other candidates on the stage were bought and paid for. Christie responded by saying that Ramaswamy sounded like ChatGPT and was amateur. He compared Ramaswamy to Barack Obama.

Burgum and Hutchinson don’t get first words in for over 10 minutes

North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum and former Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson, who are trailing all other candidates on the stage in polling, went well over 10 minutes after the first question was asked before they were called on. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie were given the mic first.

Rich Men North of Richmond gets shout out at beginning of debate.

The viral song sung by a Oliver Anthony that topped charts got a shout out at the beginning of the GOP debate, and Governor Ron DeSantis was asked why the song spoke so clearly to many Americans.”Our country is in decline,” DeSantis said. “This decline is not inevitable. It’s a choice. We need to send Joe Biden back to his basement and reverse American decline.”  DeSantis then spoke of restoring American dominance in energy by increasing domestic production, which has declined significantly under President Joe Biden.

Haley Says She Doesn’t Care About Polls, Goes After Trump On National Debt

Former South Carolina Governor and U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley said she’s not concerned about her position in recent polls and called out her former boss for allowing the national debt to increase.“I don’t care about polls. What I care about is telling the American people the truth. The truth is that Biden didn’t do this to us. Our Republicans did this to us too when they passed that $2.2 trillion COVID stimulus bill …”

Pence and Ramaswamy Spar Over Experience

Former Vice President Mike Pence hit Vivek Ramaswamy over his lack of experience, saying, “Now is not the time for on-the-job training. We don’t need to bring in a rookie. We don’t need to bring in people without experience.”“You have a bunch of people, professional politicians, super PAC puppets following slogans handed over to them,” Ramaswamy responded. “The real choice we face in this primary is this: do you want a super PAC puppet or do you want a patriot who speaks the truth?”

DeSantis: We’re in this mess because we locked down.

DeSantis discusses COVID lockdowns and says the way to deal with bureaucrats like Anthony Fauci is to fire them.

Burgum makes joke about accident earlier in the day. 

Burgum tore his ACL earlier on Wednesday at a pickup basketball game before showing up to Wednesday’s debate. Says he took advice to “break a leg” a little to seriously.”

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