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Newt Gingrich

Former House Speaker; Chairman of Gingrich 360

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With or without Trump, the first GOP debate is worth watching

Aug 16, 2023

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Eight candidates have successfully qualified for the first Republican 2024 presidential election debate, scheduled for Aug. 23 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. While former President Donald Trump has consistently maintained his position as the leading GOP candidate, there’s still a chance he’ll choose not to face-off with the candidates eager to steal his thunder.

Straight Arrow News contributor Newt Gingrich asserts that even if Trump is a no-show, plenty of other candidates are worth watching.

The most interesting question on Fox is that the person who is most qualified — that is, the most support in polls, the most fundraising — is President Donald J. Trump. And there’s a real question whether or not President Trump is going to want to show up because, you know, if he goes in there, he’s going to have everybody shooting at him.

Vice President Pence, who is still pretty angry about how he was treated on January 6 by President Trump, Governor Chris Christie, who seems to be waging a campaign specifically designed to go after President Trump, and Governor Ron DeSantis, who, in recent days has become more openly critical of President Trump, as his campaign has floundered, and it’s been clear that he has to draw a sharp contrast with President Trump

So, it’ll be interesting to see whether or not Trump even decides to go. He is, after all, currently about 30 to 40 points ahead in the polls. He has no natural reason to go, but obviously Fox is gonna do everything they can to get him there, and he does run the risk of people attacking him for either not having the courage or not being public-spirited, or not doing what you should do in order to have an informed electorate. So, we’ll see what Trump decides.

We now have the first presidential debates coming up for the 2024 presidential campaign. They’ll be on Fox is for Republicans. Obviously, President Biden doesn’t want to debate anybody, and as the incumbent president, he can probably avoid it. The most interesting question on Fox is that the person who is most qualified, that is the most support and polls, the most fundraising is President Donald J. Trump. And there’s a real question whether or not President Trump is going to want to show up because, you know, if he goes in there, he’s going to have everybody shooting at him. 

 

Vice President Pence, who is still pretty angry about how he was treated on January 6, by President Trump, the Governor Chris Christie, who seems to be waging a campaign specifically designed to go after President Trump and Governor Ron DeSantis, who, in recent days has become more openly critical of President Trump, as his campaign has floundered, and it’s been clear that he has to draw a sharp contrast with President Trump. 

 

So it’ll be interesting to see whether or not Trump even decides to go. He is, after all, currently, about 30 to 40 points ahead in the polls. He has no natural reason to go, but obviously Fox is gonna do everything they can to get him there. And he does run the risk of people attacking him for either not having the courage or not being public spirited, or not doing what you should do in order to have an informed electorate. So, we’ll see what what Trump decides. 

 

I remember that when Callista and I watched the very first debate, which was also on Fox in 2015. It was really sort of the date when Trump emerged. He was the most vivid, the most aggressive, the toughest of the candidates, and we were frankly surprised at how much the country at large identified with his willingness to be aggressive and to fight. All of the elites thought Trump had lost the debate, but about 70% of the country thought Trump had won the debate. And that’s obviously a business where if you’re carrying the voters, it doesn’t really matter what the elites think, as they talk to each other. 

 

So it’ll be interesting to see. I recommend highly that you watch the debates. There are a couple of interesting things evolving. Vivek Ramaswamy is a brilliant young entrepreneur, who has probably the most idea oriented campaign of anybody in the race, except maybe for Trump. You have Tim Scott, who I think is a very attractive person, with a great record, a big heart, a deep faith, and I think has a great long term potential. 

 

You have Nikki Haley, who brings terrific national security from her background as the ambassador of the united nation’s, as well as having been a very aggressive solid reform governor of South Carolina. So she brings a lot to the table. There are a number of other candidates and collectively, they’re pretty darn competent people. And they’re people who deserve our respect and deserve our watching them, and I hope you’ll decide to tune in and see what’s going on. 

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