SIMI VALLEY, Calif. (AP) — Republicans face their second presidential debate Wednesday as Donald Trump’s main rivals seek to blunt the momentum. Former PresidentWho has so much faith in him? Travel through the primary of the party He would never share the stage with them again.
Seven GOP candidates He will attend an event hosted by Fox Business Network at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library. Trump will be in MichiganTrying to deliver prime time text Capitalize On top of that Auto Workers Union Trying to appeal to rank-and-file union members in a key state for a strike and general election.
The debate comes at a critical moment in the GOP campaign, with Iowa caucuses less than four months away from formally kicking off the presidential nominating process. For now, Trump dominates the field despite facing a range of vulnerabilities Four criminal charges This raises the possibility of decades in prison. His rivals, who had built up a sense of urgency among some to address the former president directly before an audience of millions, had no time to erase his lead.
“This is not an appointment that will fall into your lap. You have to go and beat other candidates, and one of them is Donald Trump,” said Kevin Madden, a Republican strategist and veteran of Mitt Romney’s 2008 and 2012 presidential campaigns. “This discussion will be interesting to see whether or not everyone realizes that the sand is going through the bell cage very quickly now.”
The former president also ignored it The first debate took place in Milwaukee last monthAttendees put each other to bed, mostly avoiding attacks on Trump. Nearly 13 million people tuned in Anyway.
Former South Carolina Governor and United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley. Attracted large crowds and renewed interest After her first debate show, she attacked businessman Vivek Ramasamy in foreign policy, pointing out that she was the only woman in the field.
His team raised expectations even higher heading into Wednesday night, telling donors in a recent pitch that they were “ready to build on the momentum after Nicky walks off the stage.”
“As more voters across America tune in to watch the second debate, this will be a great opportunity to bring in even more supporters,” Haley’s campaign manager, Betsy Ankney, wrote in an email.
Florida government is also expecting a big night. Ron DeSantisA recent but central figure Struggling to emerge as the best alternative to Trump. His campaign reported an uptick in fundraising after the first debate, but a strong performance Wednesday could reflect that.
“It’s too late for a better performance,” said Christine Matthews, a national Republican pollster. “DeSantis has gone from being the front-runner to replace Trump to one of a pack of challengers, and he will be under pressure to perform.”
Former Vice President Mike PenceSouth Carolina Sen. Tim Scott And Ramaswamy Similarly looking for breakout moments. Ramasamy often drew attention in Milwaukee, but was criticized by several candidates who sought to expose his political inexperience.
Also on stage will be the Governor of North Dakota. Doug Burgum And Chris ChristieThe former New Jersey governor has built his White House bid around Trump.
Former Governor of Arkansas. Asa Hutchinson Failed to qualify after first debate. Hutchinson’s campaign says he will also travel to Michigan to hold a press conference criticizing Trump.
Ahead of the debate, many participants met with high-level supporters, donors and reporters to confirm that they are in the best possible position going forward.
Reed Gallen, co-founder of the Lincoln Project, founded by conservatives who oppose Trump, says he still believes the former president will be the Republican nominee in 2024, and Wednesday’s debate offers others a chance to build a foundation.
“Chances are Trump will take this for granted,” Galen said.
The site is symbolic because Reagan has long been an icon of the Republican Party, whose words and key moments still shape GOP politics today. But aside from squabbling with leaders of the Reagan library, Trump has reshaped the party and pushed away from traditional GOP policy positions — including muscular foreign policy and opposition to Moscow.
While Reagan recalled going to divided Berlin and telling Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev to “tear down this wall,” Trump often sympathized with Russian President Vladimir Putin, saying, “I was the apple of his eye.”
Benz, In a recent speech, he called out conservatives To reject Trump’s “siren song of populism.” But Ramaswamy attacked Pence in the first debate by declaring “it’s not morning in America,” a reversal of Reagan’s famous 1984 campaign slogan — and said Reagan-leaning Republicans were not out with a Trump-dominated party.
“The sad thing is, I don’t know how many of them will get it — Ronald Reagan couldn’t get the Republican nomination today,” said former Republican New Jersey Gov. Christine Todd Whitman. Joined with Democratic Voices to promote centrist Forward Party. “He wasn’t far enough there.”
Weissert reported from Washington. Associated Press writer Thomas Beaumont in Des Moines, Iowa, contributed to this report.