Foreign policy and feuds play out in third Republican debate

Published: Nov. 9, 2023 at 12:44 PM CST
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MIAMI, FL (Gray DC) - Republican candidates faced off in Miami Wednesday night in the third primary debate. Just five candidates took the stage, while the front runner in the race, Donald Trump held a solo event nearby with 2024 just around the corner.

It was a chance for those vying for second place in the race to push for a memorable moment, at times turning tense, particularly between the tech entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy and former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley (R-SC).

With a smaller group on stage than previous debates, the candidates had a chance to dig deeper into foreign policy issues like the Israel and Ukraine wars and dealing with China. Former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley tapping into her experience laid out her plan to assist in the Middle East.

“One: eliminate Hamas, two: support Israel with whatever they need whenever they need it, and three: bring our hostages home,” said Haley.

Domestic issues were also front and center, with policy being floated like energy independence to boost the economy, the murky future of social security, consensus on a national abortion blueprint and more.

The candidates tried to separate from each other while also showing a contrast to President Joe Biden. Vivek Ramaswamy says he is intent on turning the tide of recent poor results for the GOP, after Democrats picked up big wins in Kentucky, Virginia, and Ohio earlier this week.

“This establishment in the Republican party has lost its mind. I’m sick and tired of it. And that’s what’s created this culture of losing,” said Ramaswamy.

Just minutes from downtown Miami, Donald Trump held a rally in Hialeah, FL. The front runner made it clear he does not feel the need to debate when he can draw a large, friendly crowd free of criticism.

“I’m standing in front of tens of thousands of people right now and it’s on television. That’s a hell of a lot harder to do than the debate,” Trump told his loyal supporters.

Trump appealed to his unwavering fans by criticizing his opponents whom he decided not to face Wednesday night. He also spent a good chunk of his speech targeting President Biden, blaming his legal woes on his Democratic foe.

“They put you, me, my family, and our country through hell but in the end they will fail and we will win because we will never stop fighting to save the America we love,” said Trump.

The Republican National Committee is holding a fourth GOP debate in Tuscaloosa, Alabama in early December, just over a month before the Iowa Caucuses. They are making the qualification criteria even harder, potentially weeding out more candidates in a still crowded field.