Seven Republican presidential hopefuls participated in the second GOP debate on Wednesday (September 27) at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, former U.N. ambassador Nikki Haley, former Vice President Mike Pence, Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.), biotech entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy, former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum all participated in Wednesday's spirited debate. Former President Donald Trump was again absent from the debate stage, speaking to workers in Michigan.
Several candidates called out Trump for not participating in the debate.
“Donald Trump is missing in action. He should be on this stage tonight,” DeSantis said.
Christie also had a message for the former president.
“I know you’re watching, okay? And you’re not here tonight not because of polls and not because of your indictments. You’re not here tonight because you’re afraid of being on this stage and defending your record,” Christie said. “You’re ducking these things. And let me tell you what’s going to happen, you keep doing that, no one up here is going to call you Donald Trump anymore, we’re gonna call you ‘Donald Duck.’”
Trump previously said he was opting out of the debates because of his significant lead in the polls against his Republican challengers and his hostile relationship with Fox.
During the second debate, moderators struggled to control the GOP presidential candidates who repeatedly spoke over each other when responding to questions.
Still, none of the seven emerged as a clear winner of the debate especially over Trump, who remained the center of conversation despite his absence.