The Republican Party held its first presidential primary debate in Milwaukee Wednesday night. Eight candidates made their case about why they believe they should receive their party’s presidential nomination to run against President Joe Biden in 2024.
But the most notable thing about the event was the elephant not in the room, as Fox News co-moderator Bret Baier cheekily noted.
Despite being the frontrunner for the GOP nomination, former President Donald Trump chose not to participate in the debate. Instead, he sat down with former Fox News host Tucker Carlson in an interview that aired at the same time.
According to recent polling, Trump holds a 46-point lead against the nearest runner-up — Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.
A group of Michigan conservatives joined Detroit Today to react to the first debate of the GOP primary and evaluate the performances of the candidates who were present.
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Jeff Timmer is a partner at Two Rivers Public Affairs, a political strategizing group. Timmer claims voters do not care about Nikki Haley’s performance, and that the most important person at the debate was not on the stage.
“Donald Trump is the product that Republican voters want. That’s the thing to keep in mind,” says Timmer.
Michael Seltzer is a retired marketing executive. He voted twice for Donald Trump and lives in Franklin Township. Seltzer is proud of what he saw during the debate.
“I thought Nikki Haley hit it out of the park. She said some things that are actually true about our own party as it relates to the deficit,” says Seltzer.
Hassan Nehme is Coalition Vice Chair for the Michigan GOP. According to Nehme, the Republican Party in Michigan is trying to organize itself, and state GOP Chair Kristina Karamo is learning while on the job.
“As far as Kristina Karamo, the chair, and the things that are going on — it’s a work in progress,” Nehme admits.
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