Republicans hold first presidential debate – minus Donald Trump

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AP Photo Morry Gash

The Republican Presidential Debate was held on Wednesday in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The debate revealed some major policy differences between the candidates. Over 80 members of the combined Shelby County, St. Clair County, and Greater Birmingham Young Republicans were present at Hoover Tactical Firearms to watch the event and eat barbecue.

Former President Donald Trump was conspicuous by his absence.

Former Vice President Mike Pence said that Trump asked him to violate his oath to the Constitution by invalidating the Electoral College results on January 6, 2021. Pence said that he will always follow the Constitution.

Trump claimed then, and still does, that the election was “stolen.” His efforts to overturn the 2020 election results have resulted in his being indicted.

The other candidates said that Pence did the right thing that day.

Both former Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchison and former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie said President Trump violated his oath of office and likely cannot run again. Hutchison cited the 14th Amendment, which prevents anyone who has led an insurgency against the United States from serving. Christie said that Trump has been indicted 99 times and that lawlessness cannot be allowed.

Businessman Vivek Ramaswamy said that Trump was the greatest president of the twenty-first century.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said Republicans should move on from this issue as it only benefits Democrats.

U.S. Senator Tim Scott (R-South Carolina) said that he was raised in poverty by a single mother and that his success shows that the American dream is alive and well.

The candidates all seemed to agree that President Joe Biden’s economic policies have led to inflation, homelessness, and a significant reduction in the quality of life of most Americans. They blamed government spending. They also agreed that Biden is in mental decline.

Ramaswamy, who is 38, said that America needs a new generation of leadership to lead a new American Revolution.

Pence disagreed, saying that he has been in the halls of power as a member of Congress, Governor of Indiana, and Vice President, making him the most qualified to serve as President.

The United States has spent $77 billion in aid for Ukraine, and President Biden has asked for $24 billion more as it appears that Ukraine’s summer offensive has stalled.

Ramaswamy objected to giving any money to Ukraine, saying he wanted to move those resources to the U.S.’s southern border. “Ukraine is not a priority for the U.S.”

“We can do both at the same time,” Pence said, objecting to Ramaswamy’s isolationist foreign policy.

Former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley slammed Ramaswamy, saying, “You have no foreign policy experience, and it shows.”

Haley said that Ramaswamy’s policies would lead to a world war.

Pence agreed, saying that if Russian President Vladimir Putin is allowed to win in Ukraine, eventually, he will cross a NATO border, and the U.S. will have to send American troops to stop him.

Haley said that Republicans need to tell Americans the truth and acknowledge that the GOP does not have the 60 votes required for the U.S. Senate to pass a nationwide abortion ban.

Pence strongly disagreed and advocated for the passage of a nationwide abortion ban, saying that he would be a staunch defender of life as President.

North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum said that he represents a very pro-Life state but agreed with Haley that abortion policy should be left to the states and there should be no nationwide ban.

Christie condemned the lawlessness on the U.S. southern border.

Since Biden has been president, six million migrants have entered this country.

Ramaswamy wanted to put troops and military forces on the border.

DeSantis said that the U.S. should use deadly force and kill migrants crossing the border illegally.

Pence said in his (and Trump’s) administration, illegal border crossing decreased by 90% (and they didn’t gun anyone down).

Hutchison said that his tenure as the head of the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) taught him how to interdict dangerous drugs like fentanyl. Hutchison noted that there also needs to be an education component to combat fentanyl.

DeSantis said that the COVID lockdowns “should never have happened.”

Ramaswamy said that if he had been President during the COVID-19 pandemic, he would have fired Dr. Anthony Fauci.

Scott said his mother taught him to work hard, have faith, and “if God made you a man, you compete in sports against men.”

Ramaswamy called the concept of manmade global warming a “hoax” and called on the U.S. to mine for coal, drill for oil and natural gas, and adopt nuclear energy.

Haley said that climate change “is real” but noted that the U.S. should be focused on getting India and China to reduce their carbon emissions rather than mandating that Americans buy electric cars where half the batteries are made in China,

While the other contenders for the Presidency were on Fox News debating, Trump gave a lengthy interview to Tucker Carlson. Trump will surrender to Georgia authorities on Thursday.

The Alabama presidential primary will be held on Tuesday, March 5.

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