This could be a debate about a Donald Trump Vice -President?
Cept Trump won’t pick any of these people….
Of course if Trump was to somehow NOT be the nominee????
Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie turned to his fellow candidates shortly after Wednesday night’s presidential primary debate began and implored them to go after the man who wasn’t there: Former president Donald Trump.
“I’m looking at my watch now. We’re 17 minutes into this debate, and except for your little speech in the beginning, we’ve had these three acting as if the race is between the four of us,” he stressed, referring to his GOP rivals on stage.
And then, the rest of the field largely ignored him.
Trump was off stage literally and figuratively for much of the fourth primary debate in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. He was occasionally referenced and obliquely criticized, like when Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis noted that Mexico had not — as Trump promised — paid for a border wall; or when former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley said he was good on trade but bad on everything else related to China.
But, largely, he skated.
It wasn’t for lack of opportunity. Trump clearly impacted the debate without being there. The questions often were geared around him or the things he said, like a query about whether the fellow candidates would also want to repeal and replace Obamacare. The other presidential aspirants often found themselves discussing moments of Trump’s presidency without prompt: like when tech entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy insisted that the attacks on the capital on Jan. 6 were an “inside job.”
He remained the axis around which the debate spun, even without being on stage.
At the halfway point, moderator Megyn Kelly pressed the candidate’s specifically about Trump’s call for a Muslim ban. Haley didn’t criticize him, just said she would limit immigration without applying ideological screening. DeSantis then jumped in and took the opportunity to criticize Haley, not Trump.
Later, Christie again tried to re-orient the debate back to Trump, after he was asked about the former president’s comments, a day before, that he would be a dictator for a day to put in place his border and oil drilling policies….
Christie said Ramaswamy, Haley and DeSantis treated Trump like the Harry Potter villain Voldemort, whose name was forbidden from being spoken. The former New Jersey governor suggested they were afraid to take on Trump, whom he called a “bully,” directly and speak the truth because they have “future aspirations.”….
image….Republicans face off for a fourth and possibly final presidential primary debate in Alabama. | Gerald Herbert/AP