Mike Pence promised to pass a federal ban on transgender surgery if he becomes President.

The second 2024 Republican presidential debate is unfolding at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California. The leading candidate in the field, Donald Trump, has chosen to skip this event, much like the first debate. Instead, he will be in Michigan, 2,000 miles away, attempting to garner support from union workers amidst an ongoing labor strike.

The candidates on the stage include Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, former Vice President Mike Pence, entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy, Senator Tim Scott from South Carolina, former United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley, former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, and North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum.

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During the debate, Vivek Ramaswamy made controversial remarks about being transgender, describing it as a “mental health disorder” and “confusion.” This statement contradicts the guidance from the American Psychiatric Association, which asserts that diverse gender expressions are not indicative of a mental disorder. Ramaswamy attempted to support his viewpoint by mentioning encounters with two young women who regretted their gender-affirming surgeries. However, it’s important to note that such regret is rare, with only about 1% of individuals expressing regret after gender transition in numerous studies involving thousands of participants.

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A notable exchange occurred between Nikki Haley and Vivek Ramaswamy, reminiscent of their clashes in the previous debate. Haley criticized Ramaswamy for his perceived inexperience and what she considered to be dangerous ideas. Ramaswamy defended his use of the TikTok platform, acknowledging his newcomer status and expressing a commitment to earning trust. Haley interjected by describing TikTok as “dangerous” and directly addressing Ramaswamy, suggesting that his statements made her feel “a little bit dumber.” Ramaswamy urged for a more civil discourse within the Republican Party before the moderators moved on to another topic.