The debate started with a bang, with American entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy calling out the GOP for using left-wing media personalities to moderate the Republican Debate. “Think about who’s moderating this debate. This should be Tucker Carlson, Joe Rogan, and Elon Musk. We’d have ten times the viewership, asking questions the GOP primary voters care about, and bring more people into the Republican Party,” he said. But the moderators moved along very quickly and unto a discussion of foreign policy and some domestic issues that highlighted the importance of caring for one another as human beings.
The foreign policy discussion began, of course, with a discussion of the Hamas terrorist attack on Israel. The good news is that all candidates express strong support for Israel. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said, “Finish the job once and for all with these butchers, Hamas.” Former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley echoed the sentiment, saying, “I said finish them.” Vivek Ramaswamy also said he would tell Benjamin Netanyahu “to smoke those terrorists on his southern border.” Sen. Tim Scott said Israel needs to “Wipe Hamas off of the map.” And former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said he would tell Netanyahu that “America is here no matter what it is you need at any time to preserve the state of Israel.”
Domestically, the issue of life brought similar support for the most vulnerable. When asked about how to move forward following pro-life losses in several states, Gov. DeSantis reaffirmed his strong message, saying:
“I stand for a culture of life. I understand that it is important that everyone gets a shot. I’m reminded of a story of a young mother who was struggling in Jamaica about 40 years ago, 45 years ago. She was counseled to not have a baby because she was poor because the baby wouldn’t have opportunity. And she came close to having an abortion, but she decided to have the baby born poor in Jamaica. And the reason I know that story is because that baby girl ended up emigrating to the state of Florida, becoming a lawyer and a judge, and I appointed her to the Florida Supreme Court in August of 2022. We’re better off when everybody counts. We’re better off when we can promote a culture of life.”
He also criticized the Democrats’ radical pro-abortion stance: “But let’s just be clear, the Democrats are taking a position—they will not identify the point at which there should be any protection, all the way up until birth. That is wrong, and we cannot stand for that.”
Ambassador Haley said she is unapologetically pro-life but said she wants to find consensus: “Let’s agree on how we can ban late-term abortion. Let’s make sure we encourage adoptions and good quality adoptions. Let’s make sure we make contraception accessible. … Let’s focus on saving as many babies as we can and support as many moms as we can.”
Sen. Scott said proudly he is 100% pro-life. “I would certainly, as President of the United States, have a 15-week national limit. I would not allow states like California, Illinois, or New York to have abortions up until the day of birth… Three out of four Americans agree with a 15-week limit. Forty-seven out of fifty countries in Europe agree with a 15-week limit.”
Both Sen. Scott and Gov. Christie talked about being “pro-life for the whole life,” calling for an increase in public support for services for mothers in crisis pregnancies, something Concerned Women for America has been leading through our efforts for a Life.org portal to help mothers in need. And Ramaswamy called for more involvement and responsibility from fathers.
Overall, it was a good, productive discussion that shows the candidates are willing to engage the issues thoughtfully and respectfully.
Of course, it is worth noting that the undisputed leader of the Republican Party field, Donald Trump, was, once again, missing on the debate stage. He leads by more than 40 percentage points. And a new CNN poll showed him expanding his lead over President Joe Biden.