2023 US election: GOP candidates zero in on Gaza war, abortion, Trump in third debate

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis purses his lips as former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley and former biotech executive Vivek Ramaswamy debate at the third Republican candidates U.S. presidential debate of the 2024 U.S. presidential campaign on November 8, 2023. Were doing it behind.  - Reuters
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis purses his lips while debating on either side of former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley and former biotech executive Vivek Ramaswamy at the third Republican candidates’ U.S. presidential debate of the 2024 U.S. presidential campaign on November 8, 2023 Licking. -Reuters

In the third Republican debate held in Miami, five presidential candidates took the stage, with one notable absence – Donald Trump, and discussed issues such as the Israel-Hamas war, and abortion rights and took digs at each other on a variety of issues. Did.

Trump focused discussion

Despite Trump not attending, his presence loomed large throughout the event, shaping the discussion and framing the candidates’ reactions.

The first question asked of the candidates revolved around why voters should choose them over Donald Trump, highlighting the former president’s continuing influence on the race.

Governor Ron DeSantis criticized Trump for failing to follow through on campaign promises, referencing recent Democratic victories as evidence of Republican defeat.

DeSantis said Mr Trump was “a very different person from 2016” and failed to explain what he said were broken campaign promises.

He then pointed to Tuesday night’s elections, in which Democrats got some big wins. “Donald Trump said we would get tired of winning,” Mr. DeSantis said. “I’m tired of Republicans losing.”

Former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley took a more nuanced approach, acknowledging Trump’s relevance in the past but suggesting he may not be the right candidate for the present. Chris Christie pointed to Trump’s ongoing legal challenges, arguing that he should not be the nominee while dealing with legal issues.

However, South Carolina senator Tim Scott and biotech entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy did not mention the former president in their responses.

Consensus on Israel-Hamas war

While Trump’s influence dominated the discussion, the candidates found consensus on the issue of Israel. Each candidate expressed support for Israel in its conflict with Hamas, with some calling for a stronger response against the Palestinian terrorist group. This unity on foreign policy demonstrated a shared stance within the Republican field.

However, the debate heated up when Nikki Haley became the focus of the attacks. Vivek Ramaswami criticized his foreign policy approach, labeling him “the sharpest of warmongers”. As the confrontation escalated, Haley defended her position and dismissed Ramaswamy’s criticisms as baseless.

Abortion remains a divisive issue

The divide among the candidates became more pronounced when addressing abortion. With the Supreme Court striking down abortion rights nationwide, Republicans have faced challenges in tackling the issue.

While Haley stressed the need for consensus within the party, Tim Scott advocated for a national 15-week limit on abortion, a proposal that received little support from the other candidates.

The debate highlighted the ongoing struggle between Republican candidates to consolidate the non-Trump vote. As Trump maintains a significant lead, the contenders debated their policy differences and tried to differentiate themselves in a crowded field.

Ultimately, the third Republican debate in Miami demonstrated Donald Trump’s lasting impact on the party and the challenges facing candidates attempting to make their mark.

Divisions over key issues such as foreign policy and abortion underlined the internal dynamics at play within the Republican field as the race heated up to the primaries.

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