Donald Trump, a former president, is not present for the presidential debate, but the audience appears to be firmly in his camp.
On Wednesday night’s Fox News debate, the audience heckled Mike Pence, former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, and former Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson. The three are among the GOP field’s most well-known Trump detractors.
Former Vice President Mike Pence touted the accomplishments of the “Trump-Pence administration,” while Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who pledged to dismiss Dr. Anthony Fauci, borrowed a page from Trump’s political playbook and was cheered enthusiastically by the Milwaukee audience.
In a heated argument that turned into a discussion about climate change, former vice president Mike Pence and biotech entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy traded insults on the GOP presidential debate stage on Wednesday. This was the first time insults were exchanged during the first GOP debate for the 2024 election cycle.
When Pence was vice president during the Trump Administration, when the national debt increased more than it did during any previous administration, Fox News host Bret Baier questioned Pence on government spending during that time.
Pence defended his actions while working with Trump, citing examples such as “unleash[ing] American energy” and selecting “three conservatives to the Supreme Court,” before asserting that he is the “best prepared, the most tested, the most qualified, and proven conservative in this race.”
Ramaswamy rebutted by saying he didn’t “understand” Pence’s answer, and declared he would wage war “on the federal administrative state that is the source of . . . toxic regulations acting like a wet blanket on the economy,” prompting Pence to attack his lack of government experience.
“Let me explain it to you Vivek, if I can, I’ll go slower this time,” he said, claiming “Joe Biden has weakened this country” and “now is not the time for on-the-job training,” adding “we don’t need to bring in a rookie.”
The discussion then turned to climate change as the moderators mentioned the devastation caused by the Maui fires and a rare tropical storm in California. They then asked the candidates for a show of hands on whether they believed that humans were responsible for the climate change.
Before Florida Governor Ron DeSantis interrupted and stated, “We are not school children, let’s have the debate,” only former Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson had raised his hand.