Headline RoundupAugust 24th, 2023

GOP Candidates Spar Over Trump, Ukraine, and Abortion During First Debate

Summary from the AllSides News Team

The major Republican presidential primary candidates (minus the front-runner, former President Donald Trump) participated in a televised debate Wednesday night, sparring on a range of national issues including abortion, Ukraine, education, and more. 

Trump’s Absence: Trump announced over the weekend that he would not participate in the Republican debates. On Wednesday night, a pre-recorded interview between Trump and Tucker Carlson aired on X, formerly Twitter. While the candidates present frequently went after each other's qualifications and records, few used their time to critique front-runner Trump when asked about his expected surrender to Fulton County authorities on Thursday for his fourth criminal indictment this year. Christie was Trump’s most vocal critic, saying, “Whether or not you believe the charges are right or wrong, the conduct is beneath the office of the President of the United States.”

Details: The leading candidates on stage were Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and biotech entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy. Ramaswamy faced the most attacks from any candidate on stage, getting into multiple arguments with former Vice President Mike Pence and former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. Ramaswamy’s critics pointed to his age and lack of political experience as disqualifying, while he retorted by insisting on the need for new ideas and faces in Washington. The most dividing issues of the night were national legislation on abortion and continued aid for the Ukraine War. 

How the Media Covered It: Despite Trump not being present at the debate, coverage centered heavily around the candidates’ statements regarding his criminal charges.

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