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Trump's rivals criticize his absence from the Republican debate

Immigration, economy, Ukraine…: seven Republican candidates for election The 2024 American presidential candidates faced each other on Wednesday during a new televised debate. tense, reserving their sharpest pikes for Donald Trump, big favorite of the primaries and absent from the evening.

“Donald, I know you're watching us,” said former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, pointing his finger at the camera. “You are not here tonight, not because of the polls, not because of your indictments, but because you are afraid,” he assured.

Following the same strategy as in the first debate in August, the former president chose to snub this broadcast, an important step in the long road to the White House, due, according to him, to his very large lead in Republican opinion polls. .

The septuagenarian was instead in Michigan, intentionally at the same time as the debate, to court the working-class auto electorate to whom his Democratic rival, President Joe Biden, had reached out on Tuesday .

Trump's rivals criticize his absence from the Republican debate

L ex-governor of New Jersey, during a debate in California, September 27, 2023 © AFP – Robyn BECK

Divided on issues like aid to Ukraine, the seven candidates — six men and a woman — this time debated for two hours, in exchanges often turning into cacophony.

The candidates also dwelled on economic questions, criticizing at length the record of the Democratic president whom they are trying to dislodge the White House.

“Joe Biden's climate policy is good for Beijing, terrible for Detroit,” said former Vice President Mike Pence, referring to the cradle of the United States automobile.

– DeSantis take off the gloves –

But it is around Donald Trump that the strongest sequences of the show were filmed. Because this time, its rivals held back much less.

Trump's rivals criticize his absence from the Republican debate

The Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, during a debate in California, September 27, 2023 © AFP – Robyn BECK

“Donald Trump is missing, he should be on this stage tonight to defend his record “, tackled Ron DeSantis, who was seen by some conservatives as the next generation of the Republican Party, but whose rating has plummeted in opinion polls.

The governor of Florida, who stood out with his shocking positions on abortion, LGBT+ issues and immigration, is now more than 40 points behind Donald Trump, according to the poll aggregator RealClearPolitics.

This is the paradox: four months before the first primaries, Donald Trump, criminally charged four times, continues to crush all competition, still benefiting from massive support from his tide of supporters in red caps.

– Trump-Biden duel in Michigan –

Trump's rivals criticize his absence from the Republican debate

American President Joe Biden, with strikers in Michigan, September 26, 2023 © AFP – Jim WATSON

The Republican billionaire already assures himself that he is planning a possible remake of the 2020 election – devoting the vast majority of his attacks to Joe Biden, an octogenarian president candidate for re-election in November 2024.

The two rivals fought a close duel this week in Michigan, currently the scene of a major social conflict.

Joe Biden appeared, arm in arm, with union leaders on Tuesday, bringing his support for a picket of auto workers.

Trump's rivals criticize his absence from the Republican debate

Donald Trump, in Clinton Township, Michigan, September 27, 2023 © AFP – Matthew Hatcher

“Joe Biden claims to be the most pro-union president in history. It's absurd,” said Donald Trump on Wednesday evening from a factory manufacturing spare parts in the greater suburbs of Detroit.

The Republican strongly criticized his successor's environmental policy centered on the development of electric cars.

Michigan, bordering Canada, created a surprise by electing Donald Trump in 2016 against Hillary Clinton. It will be one of the most contested states in the 2024 presidential election.

Aware of having been crushed by the debate due to his absence, Donald Trump published on his social network an image of his shadow covering the entire platform where his seven rivals debated.

All rights of reproduction and representation reserved. © (2023) Agence France-Presse

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116