Aug 24, 2023

Fox News Republican Presidential Primary Debate Transcript

Fox News Republican Presidential Primary Debate Transcript
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The first Republican 2024 Presidential Primary Debate was hosted by Fox News,  live from the Fiserv Forum in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Read the transcript here.

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Speaker 1 (14:55):

Some call it the heartland. Others, fly over country. But for the 2024 presidential hopefuls, the Midwest is the place to land. Here, there is one battleground that may be harder to win than ever: Wisconsin. A state known for its beer and cheese, gridiron and grit, and also its razor-thin elections. In 2016, Republicans narrowly flipped the Badger State red for the first time since Ronald Reagan, but it was back to blue by 2020. That election came during an unprecedented year. The country was rife with tension. In the suburbs of Milwaukee, the division seemed deeper than ever, but that was just the beginning.

Two years later, the US Supreme Court struck down Roe versus Wade, leaving the legality of abortion up to the states. In Wisconsin, that meant a nearly total ban. The power of that issue drove Democrats to the polls this year. Now, that new, thin liberal majority on the court could have that abortion issue before it again. Just as the race for the White House accelerates.

Tonight, the Republican candidates will face off at the home of the Bucks and the Marquette Golden Eagles, hoping to return next July to this city on the shore of Lake Michigan to accept the Republican nomination at their party’s national convention.

Bret Baier (16:45):

Tonight, the race for the White House takes flight. Welcome to the first debate of the 2024 presidential campaign live at Fiserv Forum in Milwaukee.

Martha Maccallum (16:58):

Eight Republican candidates have qualified and have chosen to be here on our debate stage tonight. They are here to lay out their vision for America, the battle as they battle for the GOP nomination. Good evening, everybody. I’m Martha Maccallum. And

Bret Baier (17:15):

I’m Bret Baier. This is the very same stage on which the Republican choice for President will accept the party’s nomination next summer. The eight contenders are positioned by the order they sit in the polls, with the highest polling candidates in the middle standing center stage. Florida Governor, Ron DeSantis.

Martha Maccallum (17:40):

Next, entrepreneur, Vivek Ramaswamy.

Bret Baier (17:44):

Former Vice President, Mike Pence.

Martha Maccallum (17:45):

Former South Carolina Governor, Nikki Haley.

Bret Baier (17:47):

Former New Jersey Governor, Chris Christie.

Martha Maccallum (17:47):

South Carolina Senator, Tim Scott.

Bret Baier (17:59):

Former Arkansas Governor, Asa Hutchinson

Martha Maccallum (18:02):

And North Dakota Governor, Doug Burgum.

Bret Baier (18:10):

Some ground rules for tonight. We’ll ask the questions and then candidates get one minute to answer. If someone is singled out, you get 30 seconds to respond. And when the time runs out, we all will hear this. Very pleasant.

Martha Maccallum (18:28):

So tonight, these candidates have a big opportunity to break out of the pack and to explain why they are best prepared to be the Republican choice for president at a time when the likely Democrat nominee, President Joe Biden, is working to convince the country that with Bidenomics things are looking up.

President Joe Biden (18:47):

We call my plan Bidenomics. I’m not sure they meant it in a totally complimentary way at the time. But guess what? It’s working.

Bret Baier (18:59):

But is it? More than 65% of Americans say the country is headed in the wrong direction. And here’s the reality for some voters we talked to here in Wisconsin this week.

Speaker 2 (19:12):

We have noticed a dramatic increase in prices at the grocery store just across the board.

Speaker 3 (19:16):

Gas is high and food is high. It’s a lot of peoples out here homeless because they can’t buy food.

Speaker 4 (19:23):

It’s tough when you got mortgage rates at seven, eight percent, versus two to three. You can’t afford a house anymore.

Speaker 5 (19:29):

Inflation is ridiculous. It’s killing us out here.

Martha Maccallum (19:32):

As we sit here tonight, the number one song on the Billboard chart is called Rich Men North of Richmond. It’s by a singer from Farmville, Virginia named Oliver Anthony. His lyrics speak of alienation, of deep frustration with the state of government and of this country. Washington DC is about a hundred miles north of Richmond.

Oliver Anthony (20:10):

( Singing).

Martha Maccallum (20:10):

So Governor DeSantis, why is this song striking such a nerve in this country right now? What do you think it means?

Ron DeSantis (20:36):

Our country is in decline. This decline is not inevitable, it’s a choice. We need to send Joe Biden back to his basement and reverse American decline. And it starts with understanding we must reverse Bidenomics so that middle class families have a chance to succeed again. We cannot succeed as a country if you are working hard and you can’t afford groceries, a car or a new home while Hunter Biden can make hundreds of thousands of dollars on lousy paintings. That is wrong.

We also cannot succeed when the Congress spends trillions and trillions of dollars. Those rich men north of Richmond have put us in this situation. And finally, we need to lower your gas prices. We’re going to open up all energy production. We will be energy dominant again in this country. I showed it could be done in the state of Florida. I pledge to you as your president, we will get the job done and I will not let you down.

Bret Baier (21:39):

All right, Governor DeSantis. Thank you. Governor Christie, do you agree with Governor DeSantis just said there? And why would you be better on the economy than him?

Chris Christie (21:50):

Well, look, I do agree predominantly with what Governor DeSantis just laid out. I think that if you asked every one of us up here, that we would agree predominantly with what he just laid out. Here’s the difference: the difference is that we’re going to have to work and make sure that we sell these ideas and we able to be able to put ourselves in a position where we get a majority of the vote, not only by winning the Congress and the Senate in ’24, but also by having someone who’s had the experience of doing it.

Now, I was elected as a conservative Republican in a blue state with 61% of the vote, with a Democratic legislature against me the entire time. And we still, through hard strong decision-making, brought them around to our point of view. We cut taxes in New Jersey. We cut debt in New Jersey. We made sure that each and every time we were confronted with bad Democratic ideas, we stood and stopped them. And when there were good ideas, we brought people together to make progress going forward. Truth and accountability are the things we need to do to fight waste.

And I’d say the last thing is this, Bret, we cannot sit by any longer and allow the kind of spending that’s going on in Washington because every dollar they spend is a dollar that these people are not allowed to spend on their children and their grandchildren. It’s robbing our country and it’s wrong.

Bret Baier (23:14):

Well, Governor, let me just follow up very quickly. New Jersey, when you were governor, had the second-lowest credit rating in the nation after Illinois and it was downgraded 11 times.

Chris Christie (23:23):

Yep. Yeah, and that’s what happens when you inherit a blue state that has done that. But when you look at what we did on debt, Bret, in that state, we cut debt in that state. Debt that had been left to us by three Democratic gubernatorial predecessors of mine who ran up that debt tremendously. And what you also saw us do was to cut the unemployment rate in half. It was over 10% when I became governor in 2010. What we also did was cut pension payments to public employees to make sure that taxpayers were not being soaked by a public employee union system that was killing the taxpayer.

Bret Baier (24:02):

Thank you, Governor.

Martha Maccallum (24:03):

Governor Scott. I mean Tim Scott, Senator Scott, excuse me. The song also goes after welfare programs. As a senator, now President Biden, argued for freezing federal spending, this was back in the ’80s, and dealing with sacred cows. He does not talk about that anymore. You have been a senator, though, for 10 years. So what have you done to reign in the increasing size of government?

Tim Scott (24:29):

Well, thank you for the question. Over the last several years, I’ve had an opportunity to vote against spending package after spending package after spending package. What we also need to understand is that Joe Biden’s Bidenomics has led to the loss of $10,000 of spending power for the average family. When you see 16% inflation, your gas is up 40%, your food is up 20%, your electricity is up 20%. We can stop that by turning the spigot off in Washington, sending the money back to the states and allowing the decisions to be made at their own houses.

I helped write the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act in 2017. We cut taxes for a single mom like the one that raised me by 70%, for dual households by 60%, returning to the average family, $4,000. If you don’t send it to Washington, we can’t spend it. That’s good news for the American people.

Martha Maccallum (25:28):

Okay, but just to follow up, during the Trump administration, you approved 4.4 trillion, 4.1 trillion, 1.7 trillion over the course of that administration. That’s a lot of money.

Tim Scott (25:39):

There’s no doubt that during the Trump administration when we were dealing with the COVID virus, we spent more money. But here’s what happened at the end of our time in the majority: we had low unemployment. Record low unemployment, three and a half percent for the majority of the population, 70 year low for women. African-Americans, Hispanics, and Asians had an all time low, but our inflation was at 2%. Under Joe Biden, we’ve seen the exact opposite. We’ve seen inflation explode, which led to 12 Federal Reserve increases that’s devastating home buyers today.

Bret Baier (26:18):

Mr. Ramaswamy, you’re listening to these answers-

Mike Pence (26:20):

If I may, that was our administration.

Bret Baier (26:21):

… no, hold on one second. We’re going to-

Mike Pence (26:24):

So I don’t know if I get a chance to respond.

Bret Baier (26:24):

… He didn’t mention you specifically, but we’ll be with you in a second, Mr. Vice President. Mr. Ramaswamy, listening to all of this, why should voters choose you over more experienced politicians on this stage? You’re basically a blank slate for people. You’re 38 years old. You’ve said that you only voted in two presidential elections before this moment, this political race.

Vivek Ramaswamy (26:47):

So first, let me just address a question that is on everybody’s mind at home tonight. Who the heck is this skinny guy with a funny last name and what the heck is he doing in the middle of this debate stage? I’ll tell you, I’m not a politician, Bret, you’re right about that. I’m an entrepreneur. My parents came to this country with no money 40 years ago. I have gone on to found multi-billion dollar companies. I did it while marrying my wife, Apoorva, raising our two sons, following our faith in God. That is the American dream.

And I am genuinely worried that that American dream will not exist for our two sons and their generation unless we do something about it. And I do think, Bret, it’s going to take an outsider. Because for a long time, we have professional politicians in the Republican Party who have been running from something. Now is our moment to start running to something. To our vision of what it means to be an American today. If you have a broken car, you don’t turn over the keys to the people who broke it again, you hand it over to a new generation to actually fix the problem. That’s why I’m in this race and we’re just getting warmed up.

Martha Maccallum (27:48):

All right. To you, Governor Haley. So why are you better positioned to turn around this economy that we’ve heard all of these voters talking about tonight than Mr. Ramaswamy, who is a successful entrepreneur? Nationally right now, he’s beating you in the polls.

Nikki Haley (28:04):

Well, I don’t care about polls. What I care about, the fact is that no one is telling the American people the truth. The truth is that Biden didn’t do this to us, our Republicans did this to us too. When they passed that $2.2 trillion COVID stimulus bill, they left us with 90 million people on Medicaid, 42 million people on food stamps. No one has told you how to fix it. I’ll tell you how to fix it. They need to stop the spending. They need to stop the borrowing. They need to eliminate the earmarks that Republicans brought back in. And they need to make sure they understand, these are taxpayer dollars, it’s not their dollars.

And while they’re all saying this, you have Ron DeSantis, you’ve got Tim Scott, you’ve got Mike Pence, they all voted to raise the debt. And Donald Trump added 8 trillion to our debt. And our kids are never going to forgive us for this. And so at the end of the day, you look at the 2024 budget, Republicans asked for 7.4 billion in earmarks. Democrats asked for 2.8 billion. So you tell me who are the big spenders. I think it’s time for an accountant in the White House.

Bret Baier (29:07):

Vice President Pence, you were mention mentioned there. 54% of voters say the cost of groceries is a, quote, “major problem” for them.

Mike Pence (29:19):


Bret Baier (29:20):

You blamed the Biden administration’s spending for that increase. But as vice president, your administration spent more than any prior, $7.8 trillion added to the national debt, 3.5 trillion of that before COVID. So does that mean that you’re part of the spending problem?

Mike Pence (29:37):

Well, first of off, thanks for the question. Thanks for letting me respond to a reference to our administration’s record. I’m incredibly proud of the record of the Trump-Pence administration. In four short years, we rebuilt our military, we revived our economy, we unleashed American energy, and we appointed three conservatives to the Supreme Court that gave the American people a new beginning for the right to life.

Now, Martha, you asked earlier, who’s the best prepared for this job? And I must tell you, with all due respect to all of my friends on the stage, and even to one that’s probably looking on, I think unquestionably, I’m the best prepared, the most tested, the most qualified and proven conservative in this race. I was a leader in the Congress of the United States. I led Indiana where we balanced budgets and had a AAA bond rating when I was governor. And as Vice President of the United States, we spent funding to backfill on the military cuts of the Obama administration and then we were there in the worst pandemic in a hundred years.

All that being said, I was the first person in this race to say that we’ve got to deal with the long-term national debt issues. You got people on this stage that won’t even talk about issues like social security and Medicare. Vivek, you recently said, “A president can’t do everything.” Well, I got news for you, Vivek. I’ve been in the hallway, I’ve been in the West Wing. A president in the United States has to confront every crisis facing America. I will put our nation back on the path to growth and prosperity and restore fiscal responsibility, just as I did in Congress and as governor-

Bret Baier (31:21):

Mr. Vice president.

Mike Pence (31:23):

… and when I was vice president.

Ron DeSantis (31:24):

But, we’ve been [inaudible 00:31:26].

Bret Baier (31:25):

Hold on.

Martha Maccallum (31:25):

Hold on.

Bret Baier (31:26):

So you were named earlier, and we’re going to give Vivek first.

Martha Maccallum (31:29):

We’ll get to both of them.

Vivek Ramaswamy (31:30):

Yeah, this isn’t that complicated, guys. Unlock American energy, drill, frack, burn coal, embrace nuclear. Put people back to work by no longer paying them more to stay at home. Reform the US fed, stabilize the US dollar and go to war. The only war that I will declare as US President will be the war on the federal administrative state that is the source of those toxic regulations acting like a wet blanket on the economy. So I’m not sure I exactly understood Mike Pence’s comment, but I’ll let you all parse that out. For me, it’s pretty simple. That’s something a US president can do with focus and I’ll deliver on it.

Mike Pence (32:05):

Well, let me explain it to you. Let me explain it to you, Vivek, if I can. I’ll go slower this time.

Vivek Ramaswamy (32:11):

I sometimes struggle with the reading confirmation. You’re right about that part.

Mike Pence (32:14):

Look, I was a house conservative leader before it was cool. I actually pushed a Deficit Reduction Act. That was the last time we actually reduced the national debt in the United States, when I was the leader of house conservatives. I balanced budgets and cut taxes when I was governor. Look, Joe Biden has weakened this country at home and abroad. Now is not the time for on-the-job training. We don’t need to bring in a rookie. We don’t need to bring in people without experience.

Ron DeSantis (32:41):

Listen. Listen hold on.

Mike Pence (32:44):

We need to bring proven leadership [inaudible 00:32:44].

Vivek Ramaswamy (32:44):

Let me finish this.

Martha Maccallum (32:44):

[inaudible 00:32:44].

Bret Baier (32:44):

Hold on. Hold on. Hold on.

Ron DeSantis (32:44):

[inaudible 00:32:46].

Bret Baier (32:44):

Wait a second. Wait a second.

Martha Maccallum (32:47):

Hold on. Hold on. Hold on. It’s 30 seconds-

Vivek Ramaswamy (32:48):

I will finish this.

Martha Maccallum (32:48):

… when you have a rebuttal, okay? And you are up, Governor DeSantis.

Ron DeSantis (32:51):

So here’s the thing. Why are we in this mess? Part of it and a major reason is because how this federal government handed COVID-19 by locking down this economy. It was a mistake. It should have never happened. And in Florida, we led the country out of lockdown. We kept our state free and open. And I can tell you this, as your president, I will never let the deep state bureaucrats lock you down. You don’t take somebody like Fauci and coddle him. You bring Fauci in, you sit him down and you say, “Anthony, you are fired.”

Bret Baier (33:25):

We’re going to get To all of them.

Vivek Ramaswamy (33:25):

Bret, [inaudible 00:33:31].

Martha Maccallum (33:31):

All right. You know what? We’re going to bring in-

Vivek Ramaswamy (33:32):

I just want to finish responding to Mike.

Mike Pence (33:32):

I got on top of that.

Vivek Ramaswamy (33:34):

I just want to respond to Mike for one second because he invoked me back. Listen, now that everybody’s gotten their memorized, pre-prepared slogans out of the way, we can actually have a real discussion now. The reality and the fact of the matter is-

Mike Pence (33:44):

Was that one of yours?

Vivek Ramaswamy (33:45):

… Not really, Mike, actually. We’re just going to have some fun tonight. And the reality is, you have a bunch of people, professional politicians, super PAC puppets, following slogans handed over to them by their 400-page super PACs last week. The real choice we face in this primary is this: do you want a super PAC puppet or do you want a patriot who speaks the truth? Do you want incremental reform, which is what you’re hearing about? Or do you want revolution? And I stand on the side of the American Revolution, rather than this incrementalism.

Mike Pence (34:14):

I’ve got to address the COVID issue. I got to address the COVID issue.

Bret Baier (34:15):

We’re going to take control back here.

Martha Maccallum (34:17):

We need everyone to have a moment on the economy. I think that’s fair.

Mike Pence (34:20):

Can I address the COVID issue that the governor brought up?

Martha Maccallum (34:21):

There are two people who have not-

Bret Baier (34:22):


Martha Maccallum (34:22):

… we’re going to get back to that, we are. There are two people who we have not heard from yet. So let’s hear from Governor Burgum and then from Governor Hutchinson on the economy. Sir, what would you do?

Doug Burgum (34:30):

Well, great. Thank you Martha. And of course, I’m from a town of 300 people. It’s a big deal to make it on this stage with all these folks. They were all wishing me well, and I think I took them a little too literally when they said, “Go to Milwaukee and break a leg.” But I do want to say on this, we’re missing something. We can’t just talk about the Biden economy because the economy, energy, and national security are all tied together. Of course, we’re paying

Doug Burgum (35:00):

… paying too much for energy in our country right now. But part of the reason why is because the Biden policies on energy. We’ve got a plan right now. The $1.2 trillion of Green New Deal spending buried in the inflation creation act is something that is just subsidizing China. If we’re going to stop buying oil from the Middle East and start buying batteries from China, we’re just trading OPEC for Sinopec and then belatedly, the Biden administration says, “No, we’re going to put sanctions on Russian oil.” Well, we put sanctions on Russian oil. Well then it’s 20% off. Who’s buying it? China. So if you buy a battery in this country, you buy a solar panel, it’s being produced in a plant in China powered by coal, or it’s being powered by oil and gas at 20% off. And every farmer in this country would like to buy diesel at 20% off just like they’re buying it in China.

Bret Baier (35:49):

Governor Hutchinson, quicker.

Asa Hutchinson (35:54):

Thank you, Brett. Delighted to be here tonight. And let me just tell you that I’m a pro-life governor from a conservative state that have a conservative record in which I lowered taxes in Arkansas as governor, I created a $2 billion surplus that I passed off over to my successor, and I made sure that we shrunk the size of government. We have 14% fewer state employees in Arkansas after I left government than when I took over as governor eight years ago. I tell that because that’s what we need in Washington DC.

We need somebody who can actually constrain the growth of federal government, that can actually reduce the size. And I’ve pledged to reduce by 10% our federal non-defense workforce. That’s a specific pledge to make that attacks the administrative state. And let me applaud some of the business partners that are here that have had success in business. But let me tell you, I’ve been a federal prosecutor. I’ve served our country in terms of being head of the DEA, in homeland security, in times of crisis. And while I think that that’s experience that is important for the future of our country to be the President of the United States that can lead with positive solutions to be held accountable.

Bret Baier (37:17):

Thank you. We have a lot of topics to get to and I promise we’re going to get to everyone if we play within the rules. Okay, next topic. More than a thousand people are still unaccounted for in Maui after the deadliest US wildfire in more than a century. Hawaii’s Governor and White House officials said that climate change amplified the cost of human error.

Martha Maccallum (37:38):

And a tropical storm hit California for the first time in 84 years. The ocean hit 101 degrees off the coast of Florida and in the last month, the heat wave in the Southwest broke records nearly 50 years old.

Bret Baier (37:53):

So Alexander Diaz from Young America’s Foundation has a question for you all.

Alexander Diaz (37:58):

Polls consistently show that young people’s number one issue is climate change. How will you as both President of the United States and leader of the Republican Party calm their fears that the Republican Party doesn’t care about climate change?

Martha Maccallum (38:09):

So we want to start on this with a show of hands. Do you believe in human behavior is causing climate change? Raise your hand if you do.

Ron DeSantis (38:19):

Look, we’re not school children. Let’s have the debate. I mean, I’m happy to take it to start. Alexander. So do you want to raise your hand? I don’t think that’s the way to do so. Let me just say to Alexander this, first of all, one of the reasons our country’s decline is because of the way the corporate media treats Republicans versus Democrats. Biden was on the beach while those people were suffering. He was asked about it and he said, “No comment.” Are you kidding me? As somebody that’s handled disasters in Florida, you got to be activated. You’ve got to be there. You’ve got to be present. You’ve got to be helping people who are doing this.

Vivek Ramaswamy (38:52):

Can we stop filibustering and answer the question?

Ron DeSantis (38:53):

And here’s the deal.

Vivek Ramaswamy (38:54):

Let’s just answer the question, actually.

Bret Baier (38:57):

Is that a yes? Is that a hand raise?

Martha Maccallum (38:58):

You do not-

Vivek Ramaswamy (38:59):

I think it was a hand raise for him and my hands are in my pockets because the climate change agenda is a hoax.

Ron DeSantis (39:02):

No. No. I didn’t raise a hand.

Vivek Ramaswamy (39:04):

Let us be honest as Republicans, I’m the only person on the stage who isn’t bought and paid for, so I can say this, the climate change agenda is a hoax. The climate change agenda is a hoax and we have to declare independence [inaudible 00:39:18]. And the reality is the anti-carbon agenda is the wet blanket on our economy. And so the reality is more people are dying of bad climate change policies than they are of actual climate change.

Bret Baier (39:30):

Governor Haley, are you bought and paid for?

Vivek Ramaswamy (39:34):

The deficit rate is down by 98% in the last century.

Bret Baier (39:34):

Hold on, hold on. Listen, listen, listen. Hold on, hold on.

Chris Christie (39:38):

I’ve had enough. I’ve had enough already tonight of a guy who sounds like ChatGPT standing up here. And the last person in one of these debates, Brett, who stood in the middle of the stage and said, “What’s a skinny guy with an odd last name doing up here” was Barack Obama. And I’m afraid we’re dealing with the same type of amateur standing stage tonight.

Vivek Ramaswamy (40:02):

Come over and give me a hug. Give me a hug just like you did to Obama.

Chris Christie (40:06):

Same type of amateur.

Vivek Ramaswamy (40:07):

And you’ll help elect me just like you did to Obama too. Give me that bear hug.

Chris Christie (40:10):

Same type of amateur.

Bret Baier (40:12):

Hold on, hold on. Governor Haley, would you like to respond? Are you bought and paid for?

Nikki Haley (40:17):

Brett, what I would like to say is the fact that I think this is exactly why Margaret Thatcher said, if you want something said, “Ask a man. If you want something done, ask a woman.” First of all, we do care about clean air, clean water, we want to see that taken care of. But there’s a right way to do it. And the right way to do it is first of all, yes, is climate change real? Yes it is. But if you want to go and really change the environment, then we need to start telling China and India that they have to lower their emissions.

That’s where our problem is. And these green subsidies that Biden has put in, all he’s done is help China because he doesn’t understand all these electric vehicles that he’s done, half of the batteries for electric vehicles are made in China. And so that’s not helping the environment. You’re putting money in China’s pocket and Biden did that. So first of all, I think we need to acknowledge the truth, which is these subsidies are not working. We also need to take on the international world and say, okay, India and China, you’ve got to stop polluting. And that’s when we’ll start to deal with climate.

Bret Baier (41:24):

Senator Scott, are you bought and paid for?

Tim Scott (41:26):


Bret Baier (41:28):

Are you bought and paid for?

Tim Scott (41:29):

I’m sorry?

Bret Baier (41:30):

Are you bought and paid for?

Tim Scott (41:30):

Absolutely not. I mean, here’s what the American people deserve is a debate about the issues that affect their lives. Going back and forth and being childish is not helpful to the American people to decide on the next leader of our country. Number one, wait a second. Number two, as a kid who grew up in a single parent household mired in poverty, I wondered was the American dream real for kids who are devastated by poverty, devastated by the challenges of life? I came to the conclusion that America can do for anyone what she’s done for me. If we focus on restoring hope, creating opportunities and protecting America, if we want the environment to be better and we all do, the best thing to do is to bring our jobs home from China. If we create 10 million new jobs in my made in America plan, we will have a better economy and a better environment. Let me tell you why I say that, Brett.

Bret Baier (42:25):

Do it quickly.

Tim Scott (42:25):

America has cut… I’m a southern boy, I talk slow. So America-

Martha Maccallum (42:30):

That’s another one.

Tim Scott (42:32):

That was quick. America has cut our carbon footprint in half in the last 25 years. The places where they are continuing to increase Africa, 950 million people, India, over a billion, China over a billion. Why would we put ourselves at a disadvantage, devastating our own economy? Let’s bring our jobs home.

Bret Baier (42:56):

We have a lot of different topics to get to.

Martha Maccallum (42:58):

Yeah, we do. We thank you all. Thank you, Senator Scott. So coming up next, the candidates will weigh in on what could be a defining issue in the 2024 campaign. The first Republican debate continues moments away.

Speaker 7 (43:21):

We’ve got to be a lot smarter in how we talk about women and how we show them that we care.

Lindsey Graham (43:26):

We’re going to stand up for the unborn in Washington DC and if you cannot do that, you should not be the nominee for the Republican Party. This is a defining moment.

Speaker 8 (43:36):

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Speaker 9 (45:15):

I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and the republic for which it stands.

Speaker 10 (45:27):

You’re looking at the World Trade Center. We understand that a plane-

Speaker 11 (45:30):

You can see the firemen assembled here.

Speaker 12 (45:34):

Clearly difficult to tell.

Speaker 13 (45:34):

Dust just started falling.

Speaker 14 (45:34):

It’s raining debris on all of us. We better get out of the way.

Speaker 9 (45:34):

One nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

Russell Brand (46:06):

Rumble has to be a place that welcomes everybody, where you’ll feel free to be who you are, where you respect another person’s freedom in exchange for your own freedom for being respected. I believe that, ultimately and fundamentally we can do this together without top down authority that we can regulate democratically our own community. You can be you. I can be me without judgment. Beyond acceptance, love and enthusiasm for the billions of ways that is possible to be a human being.

Speaker 8 (46:42):

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Martha Maccallum (47:34):

Abortion has been a losing issue for Republicans since the Dobbs decision. In six state referendums all have upheld abortion rights in this country and even in red states, there are more swing state referendums that are coming up as we head into the elections as well on this. So Governor Haley, what do you say to your party and to your state, which today confirmed a six-week abortion law as well, especially the impact on women suburban voters across this country?

Nikki Haley (48:09):

Thank you, Martha. I am unapologetically pro-life, not because the Republican Party tells me to be, but because my husband was adopted and I had trouble having both of my children. So I’m surrounded by blessings. Having said that, we need to stop demonizing this issue. This is talking about the fact that unelected justices didn’t need to decide something this personal because it’s personal for every woman and man. Now it’s been put in the hands of the people.

That’s great. When it comes to a federal ban, let’s be honest with the American people and say it will take 60 Senate votes, it will take a majority of the House. So in order to do that, let’s find consensus. Can’t we all agree that we should ban late term abortions? Can’t we all agree that we should encourage adoptions? Can’t we all agree that doctors and nurses who don’t believe in abortion shouldn’t have to perform them? Can’t we all agree that contraception should be available and can’t we all agree that we are not going to put a woman in jail or give her the death penalty if she gets an abortion? Let’s treat this like a respectful issue that it is and humanize the situation and stop demonizing the situation.

Mike Pence (49:17):

Brett. [inaudible 00:49:20].

Bret Baier (49:20):

Hold on. Hold on. I did not mention Vice President Pence. Governor DeSantis, you signed a six-week abortion ban in Florida. One of your biggest financial backers said that you need to shift to get moderates or you will lose. What do you say to him and others who say politically that is a tough thing to sell nationally?

Ron DeSantis (49:40):

Well, I would say we sold the biggest election landslide victory in the history of the Republican Party in the state of Florida in 2022. That’s what I did. We can win. But second of all, look, you got to do what you think is right. I believe in a culture of life. I was proud to sign the heartbeat bill. I remember one of the most impactful moments of my life was when I heard the heartbeat of my oldest daughter in my wife’s womb and then saw the sonograms of all three of my kids. What the Democrats are trying to do on this issue is wrong to allow abortion all the way up to the moment of birth. I know a lady in Florida named Penny, she survived multiple abortion attempts. She was left discarded in a pan. Fortunately, her grandmother saved her and brought her to a different hospital. We’re better than what the Democrats are selling. We are not going to allow abortion all the way up till birth and we will hold them accountable for their extremism.

Bret Baier (50:37):

But just to be clear, Governor, would you sign a six-week ban federally?

Ron DeSantis (50:42):

I’m going to stand on the side of life. Look, I understand Wisconsin is going to do it different than Texas. I understand Iowa and New Hampshire are going to do different, but I will support the cause of life as Governor and as President.

Bret Baier (50:55):

Vice President Pence, you’re shaking your head.

Tim Scott (50:57):

We must have a national-

Bret Baier (50:58):

Hold on, hold on, hold on, Senator. Vice President Pence, you’re shaking your head.

Mike Pence (51:02):

Well, look, I’m not new to this cause. After I gave my life to Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior, I opened up the book and I read, “Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you and see, I set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life.” And I knew from that moment on the cause of life had to be my cause. And I’ve been a champion for life in the Congress, a champion for life as Governor and as Vice President. And to be honest with you, Nikki, you’re my friend, but consensus is the opposite of leadership.

When the Supreme Court returned this question to the American people, they didn’t just send it to the states only. It’s not a state’s only issue. It’s a moral issue. And I promise you as President of the United States, the American people will have a champion for life in the Oval Office. Can’t we have a minimum standard in every state in the nation that says when a baby is capable of feeling pain, an abortion cannot be allowed? A 15-week ban is an idea whose time has come. It’s supported by 70% of the American people, but it’s going to take unapologetic leadership, leadership that stands on principle and expresses compassion for women in crisis pregnancies. I’ll do that as President of the United States.

Nikki Haley (52:20):

He called my name, so I want to respond to that.

Bret Baier (52:23):

Governor Haley, he did.

Martha Maccallum (52:23):

30 seconds.

Nikki Haley (52:23):

So first of all, I will say it is in the hands of the people and that’s where it should be. But when you’re talking about a federal ban, be honest with the American people.

Mike Pence (52:30):

I am being honest.

Nikki Haley (52:31):

We haven’t had 45 pro-life senators in over a hundred years. So no Republican president can ban abortions any more than a Democrat president could ban all those state laws. Don’t make women feel like they have to decide on this issue when you know we don’t have 60 Senate votes in the House.

Mike Pence (52:49):

70% of the American people support legislation to ban abortion after a baby is capable of experiencing pain.

Nikki Haley (52:58):

But 60% of the Senate does not.

Mike Pence (53:02):

It’s just going to take leadership.

Martha Maccallum (53:02):

Hold on.

Nikki Haley (53:02):

70% of the Senate does not. You have to be honest with the American people.

Tim Scott (53:05):

We have to have a 15-week agreement.

Martha Maccallum (53:05):

Let’s get Governor Burgum in for one minute here. But the Supreme Court did overturn Roe v. Wade and the result of that decision was that it went back to the states. So that’s where it is right now. So as I understand it, you are not in favor of a federal ban. What do you say about the states, there’s about five of them, including New Jersey, I think a few others, that allow abortion up until the time of birth. Now if you were president, would you be able to abide that?

Doug Burgum (53:40):

Well, first of all, I’m a pro-life governor of a very pro-life state, and this issue is of course very important, but I am on the record and I stand behind that we should not have a federal abortion ban. We should not. And the reason why we shouldn’t is very simple. It’s the 10th Amendment in the Constitution. In the Constitution which the states created the federal government, not the other way around. It says that there were certain duties allowed to the federal government delegated to them by the states.

The rest are left to the states, more importantly, or to the people. We need to get back to freedom and liberty for the people in this country and we can’t have Republicans who fight for 50 years for this great cause to return it back to the States and then the next day they turn around and go, “No, the Feds should do that.” Because the feds are stepping into people’s lives. They’re stepping into people’s businesses over and over. If we say that the feds should be in on this one, where do we stop? I say that we follow the Constitution and this is returned to the states. This is where it should be.

Bret Baier (54:38):

But Governor Burgum, you signed a six-week ban… Time out. You signed a six-week ban. Governor Burgum, you signed a six-week ban. So you’re saying federally, it’s all going to go to the states.

Doug Burgum (54:49):

Yes. And what is going to work in New York will never work in North Dakota, and vice versa. That’s why [inaudible 00:54:55] 50 states [inaudible 00:54:55].

Bret Baier (54:55):

Governor Asa Hutchinson, right here.

Asa Hutchinson (54:55):

This is too important of an issue that I have to address. First of all, the Supreme Court gave it back to the elected representatives, whether it’s the states or whether it’s the United States Congress. So there is authority and that’s why President Biden is pushing for a Democrat proposal, which is in essence abortion on demand through the term. So they have their extreme position at a national level. It is most likely going to be addressed in the States, but it’s certainly fine for it to be addressed at the national level as well. Arkansas has the record of being the most pro-life state in the nation.

I signed 30 pro-life pieces of legislation while I was Governor and every state can determine a different outcome here and it is the most important issue for women and for the unborn child and for our country that we get this right. It’s going to be a continued debate. Let’s talk about it in terms of compassion, in terms of protecting the life and also understanding how we have to enhance adoption services, how we have to enhance maternal care. Those things we’ve done in Arkansas and are important for our nation’s future.

Bret Baier (56:12):

There are a lot of issues that are very important. Senator, I’ll let you weigh in.

Tim Scott (56:18):

We cannot let states like California, New York, and Illinois have abortions on demand up until the day of birth. That is immoral. It is unethical, it is wrong. We must have a President of the United States who will advocate and fight for at the minimum a 15-week limit. I’m a hundred percent pro-life conservative. I have a hundred percent pro-life record. I got to tell you though, we must fight for life. Our Declaration of Independence says our creator gave us inalienable rights that include life. That is a list. That is an issue we must solve. We can’t leave it to Illinois, we can’t leave it to Minnesota, we can’t leave it to Illinois. We must solve that issue with a 15-week limit at a minimum.

Bret Baier (57:15):

Thank you, Senator.

Nikki Haley (57:15):

Brett, I think we’re all pro-life, but what I would love, it’s for someone to ask Biden and Kamala Harris, Are they for 38 weeks? Are they for 39 weeks? Are they for 40 weeks? Because that’s what the media needs to be asking.

Bret Baier (57:26):

All right. Another issue is America and the crime crisis, the homelessness crisis, American cities are in decline. People are moving out as homelessness, drugs, crime move in. There are problems accelerated. They did accelerate during the pandemic and are still rising actually.

Martha Maccallum (57:44):

Murders in Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, all up 30% between 2019 and 2022. Homelessness is up 11%. The largest jump in recorded history. Vice President Pence, a lot of this began in the Covid era. How much of what we’re seeing happening around this country is a result of those covid lockdowns? And is your administration in part to blame for how we got here?

Mike Pence (58:13):

Well, I think what’s in part to blame is the Democrats have been talking about defunding the police for the last five years and we ought to be funding law enforcement, particularly in our major cities at unprecedented levels. I mean it’s extraordinary to think about the violence that’s claiming innocent lives literally every week in every major city in this country. And yet Democrats and liberal prosecutors in major metropolitan areas continue to work out their fanciful agendas to do bail reform and go easy. What we need is strong commitment to law enforcement.

We need leadership in Washington DC that’ll marshal the resources of the states, marshal the resources of the American people. But let me also say it’s about opportunity. I mean a lot of people don’t know that those Trump/Pence tax cuts that we got signed into law go away at the end of 2025. If we don’t have a Republican president and a Republican House and a Republican Senate, when I’m President of the United States, we’re actually going to cut taxes further. We’re going to extend those tax cuts and we’re going to close the Federal Department of Education, block grant, all that funding back to the states with a growing economy and educational choice and law enforcement. We will bring our cities back.

Bret Baier (59:30):

Governor Christie another issue this weekend here in Milwaukee, reports say there were 30 shootings and a number of them, including kids, add that to the big increase in school shootings around the country. Democrats blame this crisis on easy access to guns. They also blame Republicans for blocking gun control legislation. What would President Christie do?

Chris Christie (59:54):

I’m proud of the fact, Brett, that on the only person along with Governor Hutchinson up on this stage who’s actually run the United States attorney’s office. I ran the fifth-largest office in America in a state where there is significant urban crime and the problem is not going to be solved by more money. The problem is that these prosecutors in these localities in the states are refusing to do their job and to arrest violent criminals. So what a President Christie would do is appoint an attorney general who would instruct each of the 93 US attorneys that they are to take over the prosecution of violent crime in every one of those cities that are failing to do so.

We have plenty of room in the federal prisons to lock up these violent criminals and clean up what’s going on all across this country in these individual cities. Secondly, what we need to make sure that each and every one of these criminals understand is that the laws apply to everybody. And when Hunter Biden fills out a fake application, a false application for a gun permit, and then is facing a 10-year mandatory minimum, which was mandated by legislation sponsored by his father, and then you have a justice department that walks away from those charges, we’re telling people that the law doesn’t apply to everybody. In a Christie administration, he would go to jail for 10 years.

Bret Baier (01:01:18):

What about a President Ramaswamy? What does a President Ramaswamy do about guns?

Vivek Ramaswamy (01:01:24):

So the reality is we have a crime waving this country and we know how to fix it. The question is, do we actually have the spine to do it? More cops in the streets who are on the streets able to do their jobs without looking over their shoulder for getting sued, and we also have a mental health epidemic in this country. Just over the same period that we have closed mental health institutions, we have seen a spike in violent crime. Do we have the spine to bring them back? I think we should. As president, I will. But it’s not just drugging up people in those psychiatric institutions with Zoloft and Seroquel. It’s a deeper issue. I think faith-based approaches can play a role here too.

We’re in the middle of a national identity crisis, and I say this as a member of my generation. The problem in our country right now, the reason we have that mental health epidemic is that people are so hungry for purpose and meaning. At a time when family, faith, patriotism, hard work have all disappeared, what we really need is a tonal reset from the top saying that this is what it means to be an American. Yes, we will stand for the rule of law. Yes, we will close the southern border where criminals are coming in every day. And yes, we will back law enforcement because we remember who we really are and that’s also how we address that mental health epidemic in the next generation that is directly leading to violent crime.

Mike Pence (01:02:39):

Can I speak on behalf on the American people here?

Bret Baier (01:02:40):

Governor DeSantis, really quickly. Governor DeSantis.

Mike Pence (01:02:42):

We don’t have an identity crisis with that, Vivek. We’re not looking for a new national identity. The American people are the most faith-filled, freedom, loving, idealistic, hardworking people the world has ever known. We just need government as good as our people.

Vivek Ramaswamy (01:02:56):

Well, Mike, I think the difference is you might have as some others like you may have on the stage, it’s morning in America speech. It is not morning in America. We live in a dark moment and we have to confront the fact that we’re in an internal sort of cold, cultural, civil war.

Mike Pence (01:03:10):

You are equating the American with the failed government in Washington DC.

Vivek Ramaswamy (01:03:14):

And we have to recognize that in order [inaudible 01:03:15].

Mike Pence (01:03:15):

We just need government as good as our people again.

Bret Baier (01:03:22):

Governor DeSantis. Governor DeSantis, I want to let you weigh in here.

Vivek Ramaswamy (01:03:24):

So just let me finish addressing that slogan because I don’t know what that slogan means. We need to shut down the administrative state. That’s actually how we translate.

Bret Baier (01:03:24):

I want you to weigh in, Governor DeSantis. Crime has been on the rise in Florida, Governor DeSantis. How do you stop crime?

Ron DeSantis (01:03:30):

Well actually crime’s at a 50-year low in Florida.

Bret Baier (01:03:32):

Not in Miami.

Ron DeSantis (01:03:33):

And we’re happy with that. Well, the statewide, it’s a 50-year low. And so here’s the thing, these hollowed out cities, this is a symptom of America’s decline. And one of the biggest reasons is because you have George Soros funding these radical left-wing district attorneys. They get into office and they say they’re not going to prosecute crimes. They disagree with the inmates start running the asylum. There’s one guy in this entire country that’s ever done anything about that, me. When we had two of these district attorneys in Florida elected with Soros funding who said they wouldn’t do their job, I removed them from their posts. They are Gone. And as president, we are going to go after all of these people because they are hurting the quality of life and they are victimizing innocent people in every corner of this country and it will stop when I get into office.

Martha Maccallum (01:04:33):

Okay, one more here before the break. Governor Burgum.

Doug Burgum (01:04:33):

Brett and Martha, I just thought it was interesting you asked your question about the problems we’re having in big cities. No one ever asked the question of what about the crime wave in small towns because in a small town, neighbors help neighbors, people understand each other. If a farmer gets sick, everybody comes together and helps them get the crop off. There’s accountability, there’s transparency. One thing that I think this country could use is somebody in the White House that understands small town values because that’s our road back to get this country on track again.

Bret Baier (01:05:00):

Governor Hutchinson.

Asa Hutchinson (01:05:03):

As former head of the DEA, I understand the drug crisis in America. And right now, whenever you look at the challenges in our inner city, there’s three simple words that would be helpful. One, enforce the law when it comes to crime. Secondly, let’s deal with the challenge of fentanyl. And it’s both about stopping the fentanyl coming from Mexico, but it’s also about education of our young people, making sure that we have the tools that are needed for addiction counseling. That’s what we expanded in Arkansas as well. Whenever you look at the underlying challenge of America, though no one likes to see in America with smash and grab in our inner cities. As President of the United States, that will stop. It starts at the top with the respect for our justice system that a former president whose under indictment has undermined by attacking judges, by attacking prosecutors, by attacking the system and saying he’s aggrieved. And so we have to have respect for our justice system and the rule of law, and it starts at the top with the President of the United States.

Bret Baier (01:06:15):

Thank you.

Mike Pence (01:06:15):

Hold on. Brett.

Martha Maccallum (01:06:15):

We’re going to take a break. So speaking of that, right now you are looking live at Fulton County Jail, where former President Donald Trump will be processed tomorrow. So next, the candidates will have an opportunity to talk about the coming trials of Donald Trump.

Speaker 8 (01:06:34):

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Russell Brand (01:07:48):

Rumble has to be a place that welcomes everybody, where you’ll feel free to be who you are, where you respect another person’s freedom in exchange for your own freedom for being respected. I believe that ultimately and fundamentally, we can do this together without top down authority that we can regulate democratically our own community. You can be you. I can be me without judgment. Beyond acceptance, love and enthusiasm for the billions of ways that is possible to be a human being.

Ronna McDaniel (01:08:23):

When Republicans vote early, we win.

Mike Pence (01:08:25):

You can bank your vote by casting your ballot before election day.

Francis Suarez (01:08:29):

Either early, in person, or by mail.

Donald Trump (01:08:32):

Go to to sign up and commit to voting early.

Bill Hagerty (01:08:38):

That’s how we’re going to beat the Democrats at their own game.

Byron Donalds (01:08:40):

Go to

Ted Cruz (01:08:40):

And please take the pledge to bank your vote to beat Biden.

Speaker 15 (01:08:54):

How are we looking up there, Sergeant Best?

Sergeant Best (01:08:56):

On target, on time, boys. 5, 4, 3. Fire.

Cade Courtley (01:09:24):

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Rumble (01:09:53):

Hello, I’m Rumble.

YouTube (01:09:55):

And I’m YouTube.

Rumble (01:09:56):

YouTube, why are you dressed like that?

YouTube (01:09:58):

Well, I’ve been seeing a lot of violations in the community

Speaker 16 (01:10:00):

… lately, so I’m enforcing that.

Speaker 17 (01:10:01):

You mean like people not following your policies?

Speaker 16 (01:10:04):

Strike one.

Speaker 17 (01:10:06):

What if someone tells the truth but it’s labeled as misinformation?

Speaker 16 (01:10:09):

Strike you.

Speaker 17 (01:10:10):

Wow. What if I want to ask questions and have different opinions on things?

Speaker 16 (01:10:15):

Strike three, you’re out of here!

Speaker 8 (01:10:24):

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Bret Baier (01:11:23):

Well, we have a lot to get to in this second hour of this GOP primary debate. Policy discussions the Americans want to hear you all on China, Ukraine, immigration education, but we are going to take a brief moment and talk about the elephant not in the room.

Martha Maccallum (01:11:52):

Former President Trump has been indicted in four different states on 91 counts. He will be processed tomorrow in Georgia at the Fulton County Jail for charges relating to the 2020 election loss.

Bret Baier (01:12:05):

You all signed a pledge to support the eventual Republican nominee. If former President Trump is convicted in a court of law, would you still support him as your party’s choice? Please raise your hand if you would. Hold on. So just to be clear, Governor Christie, you were kind of late to the game there, but you raised your hand.

Chris Christie (01:12:35):

No, I’m doing this. Look, I’m doing this, not this.

Bret Baier (01:12:38):

I know you didn’t.

Chris Christie (01:12:43):

Look, here’s the bottom line. Someone’s got to stop normalizing this conduct. Okay? Now whether or not you believe that the criminal charges are right or wrong, the conduct is beneath the office of President of the United States. This is the great thing about this country. Booing is allowed, but it doesn’t change the truth. It doesn’t change the truth.

Bret Baier (01:13:27):

Mr. Ramaswamy, you raised your hand supporting …

Vivek Ramaswamy (01:13:29):

I’d like to get in and respond. Let’s just speak the truth. Okay? President Trump, I believe, was the best president of the 21st century. It’s a fact and Chris Christie, honest to God, your claim that Donald Trump is motivated by vengeance and grievance would be a lot more credible if your entire campaign were not based on vengeance and grievance against one man. If people at home want to see a bunch of people blindly bashing Donald Trump without an iota of vision for this country, they could just change the channel to MSNBC right now. But I’m not running for president of MSNBC. I am running for President of the United States. We’re skating on thin ice and we cannot set a precedent where the party in power uses police force to indict its political opponents. It is wrong. We have to end the weaponization of justice in this country.

Bret Baier (01:14:23):

30 seconds, Governor Christie.

Chris Christie (01:14:24):

You make me laugh because you sit here in an answer, you sit here in an answer …

Bret Baier (01:14:31):

Hold on one second.

Chris Christie (01:14:37):

You sit here in an answer …

Martha Maccallum (01:14:39):

Go ahead, Governor Christie.

Bret Baier (01:14:43):

Hold on, Governor Christie.

Martha Maccallum (01:14:44):

Hold on.

Bret Baier (01:14:46):

So listen, the more time we spend doing this, the less time they can talk about issues you want to talk about. So let’s just get through this section. Governor Christie.

Chris Christie (01:14:57):

You sit here talking about how you want to stand up for the rule of law and law and order, and the fact is that it can’t be selective. In your book, you had much different things to say about Donald Trump than you’re saying here tonight.

Vivek Ramaswamy (01:15:10):

That’s not true.

Chris Christie (01:15:11):

Oh, it is very true.

Vivek Ramaswamy (01:15:11):

That is not true.

Chris Christie (01:15:12):

It’s very true. I read it and I know-

Vivek Ramaswamy (01:15:16):

Because there’s a difference between bad behavior and illegal behavior, Chris, and you as a prosecutor should know better.

Chris Christie (01:15:19):

You know what? I know a lot better-

Vivek Ramaswamy (01:15:20):

There’s a difference between bad behavior and-

Chris Christie (01:15:22):

I know a lot better than you do. You’ve never done it, like you’ve never done anything to try to advance the interest of this government except to put yourself forward as a candidate tonight. Here’s the thing. We’ve stood up for law and order. I did it as US attorney. I did it as governor and I am not going to bow to anyone when we have a President of the United States who disrespects the constitution. He said, he said-

Vivek Ramaswamy (01:15:48):

Get your MSCB contributor [inaudible 01:15:50], the fact is that these are politicized indictments and we have to call out the truth.

Martha Maccallum (01:15:49):

Hold on. Gentlemen.

Chris Christie (01:15:55):

Martha, it’s important to say that the president said, Donald Trump said it’s okay to suspend the constitution. Now, the oath you take is to preserve, protect and defend, not suspend. I will always stand up for our constitution regardless of the political pressure.

Martha Maccallum (01:16:12):

We have another question for you. We’re going to get everyone in on this issue, but I have another question. I have another question. Hold on. You will. All right. So President Trump’s former vice president is on this stage tonight. He has faced hecklers on the campaign trail over his actions on January the sixth. On that day, the vice president moved forward with the certification of the election. Do you believe that Mike Pence did the right thing? Senator Scott, do you believe he did the right thing?

Tim Scott (01:16:44):

Absolutely he did the right thing, number one. Number two, we should be be asking ourselves a bigger question about the weaponization of the Department of Justice. When I’m president, the first thing I’ll do is fire Merrick Garland, second thing I’ll do fire Christopher Ray because we need Lady Justice to wear a blindfold. Without that, no one has confidence in our justice system. 17% of Republicans have confidence in our Department of justice. Here’s why. We keep seeing not only the weaponization of the Department of Justice against political opponents, but also against parents who show up at school board meetings. Under this deal, Jay, they’re called domestic terrorist

Ron DeSantis (01:17:35):

Firing Christopher Ray [inaudible 01:17:37], we have to shut down the FBI. I actually have the courage to get it right.

Tim Scott (01:17:42):

Let me finish my comments.

Martha Maccallum (01:17:42):


Tim Scott (01:17:43):

Not only that, in addition to that, we see the SWAT team show up at pro-life activist homes with guns drawn because this DOJ uses their power, uses their authority not just against political opponents, but against conservatives and conservative causes. It is time for a change in America and I will bring that change to the greatest nation on God’s green earth.

Speaker X (01:18:09):

Martha, we have an important question still to answer.

Martha Maccallum (01:18:12):

But Governor DeSantis, do you believe that Mike Pence did the right thing on January 6th?

Ron DeSantis (01:18:15):

Here’s what we need to do. We need to end the weaponization of these federal agents.

Martha Maccallum (01:18:20):

But that’s not the question.

Bret Baier (01:18:21):

That’s not the question.

Ron DeSantis (01:18:21):

I know, but here’s the thing.

Bret Baier (01:18:22):

Are you going to answer the question?

Ron DeSantis (01:18:23):

This election is not about January 6th of 2021. It’s about January 20th of 2025 when the next president is going to take office. I know what the Democrats would like to do. They want to talk about all these other issues, but we’ve got to focus on your future. We’ve got to focus on reversing the decline of our country. I learned in the military, I was assigned with US Navy SEALs in Iraq that you focus on the mission above all else, you can’t get distracted. So Republicans, we’ve got to look forward and we’ve got to make sure that we’re bringing the message that can win in November 20.

Martha Maccallum (01:19:01):

That’s fine. Did not answer the question. Did not answer the question.

Bret Baier (01:19:03):

Vice President Pence, what do you think-

Mike Pence (01:19:06):

[inaudible 01:19:06] of the United States is to support and defend the Constitution of the United States. I think the American people deserve to know whether everyone on this stage agrees that I kept my oath to the Constitution that day. There’s no more important duty, so answer the question.

Ron DeSantis (01:19:22):

We’ve answered this how many times [inaudible 01:19:23]. I’ve answered this before.

Bret Baier (01:19:24):

So yes?

Ron DeSantis (01:19:25):

Mike did his duty. I got no beef with him. But here’s the thing. Is this what we’re going to be focusing on-

Mike Pence (01:19:31):

I’m relieved.

Ron DeSantis (01:19:31):

… going forward, the rehashing of this? I’ll tell you, the Democrats would love that and they’ll win if we let him get away with it. I’m not letting Biden hang out in the basement this time. We’re going to run him ragged around this country and we’re going to hold him accountable.

Bret Baier (01:19:46):

Let me just say Governor DeSantis, we spent an hour talking about policy, former President Trump is beating you by 30, 40 points in many polls, so it is a factor in the GOP primary. Governor Hutchinson, you did not raise your hand.

Asa Hutchinson (01:19:59):

I did not raise my hand because there’s an important issue we as a party have to face and over a year ago I said that Donald Trump was morally disqualified from being president again as a result of what happened on January 6th. More people are understanding the importance of that, including conservative legal scholars who says he may be disqualified under the 14th Amendment from being president again as a result of the insurrection. This is something that could disqualify him under our rules and under the Constitution. Obviously I’m not going to support somebody who’s been convicted of a serious felony or who is disqualified under our Constitution and that’s consistent with RNC rules and I hope everybody would agree with me.

Martha Maccallum (01:20:48):

[inaudible 01:20:52].

Chris Christie (01:20:52):

Martha, can I answer the question?

Mike Pence (01:20:53):

Can I get in on that?

Chris Christie (01:20:55):

I’d like to answer. You’re going to like my answer, hang on.

Martha Maccallum (01:20:57):

You have already been in on it, Vice President Pence.

Chris Christie (01:20:58):

All right, I’d like to answer the question you asked and not give a precanned speech. Mike Pence stood for the Constitution and he deserves not grudging credit, he deserves our thanks as Americans for putting his oath of office and the Constitution of the United States before personal, political and unfair pressure. The argument that we need to have in this party before we can move on to the issues that Ron talked about is we have to dispense with the person who said that we need to suspend the Constitution to put forward his political career. Mike Pence said no and he deserves credit for it.

Martha Maccallum (01:21:45):

Governor Haley, we haven’t heard from you on this. Do you agree? Do you agree that Vice President Pence did the right thing that day or not?

Nikki Haley (01:21:53):

I do think that Vice President Pence did the right thing and I do think that we need to give him credit for that. But what I will also tell you is look, I mean when it comes to whether President Trump should serve or not, I trust the American people. Let them vote, let them decide. But what they will tell you is that it is time for a new generational conservative leader. We have to look at the fact that three quarters of Americans don’t want a rematch between Trump and Biden. We have to face the fact that Trump is the most disliked politician in America. We can’t win a general election that way.

Martha Maccallum (01:22:30):

Governor Burgum.

Bret Baier (01:22:30):

Governor Burgum.

Martha Maccallum (01:22:30):

Give Governor Burgum an opportunity.

Doug Burgum (01:22:39):

Happy to answer the question. Mike Pence did the right thing on January 6th, but I would say you started off the top of this hour saying we’re going to talk about China, Ukraine, education.

Bret Baier (01:22:47):

We are.

Doug Burgum (01:22:47):

China is the number one threat to our country and every minute that these eight candidates spend talking about the past instead about the future is time that is just … you know who loves it? Biden loves it, but China loves it when we’re talking about the past.

Martha Maccallum (01:23:00):

As promised, we were going to spend a few questions on it, let people say what they wanted to say, and now indeed we are moving on to the subject of [inaudible 01:23:07].

Bret Baier (01:23:07):

The US has committed nearly 77-

Mike Pence (01:23:09):

Can I speak on this issue? I was kind of involved.

Martha Maccallum (01:23:11):

You answered on this issue. You did answer.

Bret Baier (01:23:12):

You did say something. We thought you were done but, please.

Mike Pence (01:23:15):

No, I wasn’t done.

Vivek Ramaswamy (01:23:17):

Well, Mike, why don’t you say this, join me in making a commitment that on day one you would pardon Donald Trump. I’m the only candidate on the stage who had the courage to actually say it. That is how we move our nation forward and turn the page forward. That’s exactly right.

Mike Pence (01:23:31):

I don’t know you assume that Donald Trump will be convicted of these crimes.

Vivek Ramaswamy (01:23:33):

You should be able to make a commitment the same justice system that was this corrupt.

Mike Pence (01:23:37):

That’s the difference between you and me.

Vivek Ramaswamy (01:23:38):

I’m not a professional politician, that’s the difference, who can answer a question.

Mike Pence (01:23:41):

I’ve actually given pardons when I was governor of state of Indiana. It usually follows a finding of guilt and contrition by the individual that’s been convicted. So look, if I’m president of the United States, we’ll give fair consideration to any pardon request. But if I may, it’s not about looking back at January 2021, it’s about January 20th 2017. I put my left hand on Ronald Reagan’s Bible, I raised my right hand and I took an oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States and it ended with a prayer, so help me God. It was a promise that I made to the American people, but I also made it … it made it to my heavenly Father. Every day for four years I sought to keep that oath and everyone on this stage needs to make it clear whether or not they’ll do the same if they earn this job and the confidence of the American people.

Now look, I’ve made it clear. I had hoped that the issues surrounding the 2020 election and the controversies around January 6th had not come to this, had not come to criminal proceedings. I would rather they have been resolved by the American people and the American people alone, but no one’s above the law and President Trump is entitled to the presumption of innocence that every American is entitled to and we will make sure and extend that to him. But the American people deserve to know that the President asked me in his request that I reject or return votes unilaterally, power that no vice president in American history had ever exercised or taken, he asked me to put him over the Constitution and I chose the Constitution and I always will. I had no right to overturn the election and Kamala Harris will have no right to overturn the election when we beat them in 2024.

Bret Baier (01:25:38):

Thank you, Vice President Pence. Now we are moving on to other issues. The US has committed nearly $77 billion in aid to the Ukraine war. The administration is now asking Congress for $24 billion more. Regardless of the specifics of that plan, is there anyone on stage who would not support the increase of more funding to Ukraine?

Vivek Ramaswamy (01:26:05):

I would not support it.

Ron DeSantis (01:26:07):

Europe needs to step up. I mean, I would have Europe step up and do their job.

Bret Baier (01:26:12):

All right. Mr. Ramaswamy. But you’re saying you would not too, Governor DeSantis?

Ron DeSantis (01:26:18):

I will have Europe pull their weight. Right now they’re not doing that.

Bret Baier (01:26:24):

You would not support more funding?

Mike Pence (01:26:24):

Sounds like a no to me.

Ron DeSantis (01:26:24):

I think our support should be contingent on them doing it and I would have support in China to be able to take China and do what we need to do with China.

Bret Baier (01:26:35):

Mr. Ramaswamy, you would not support an increase of funding to Ukraine?

Vivek Ramaswamy (01:26:38):

I would not and I think that this is disastrous that we’re protecting against an invasion across somebody else’s border when we should use those same military resources to prevent across the invasion of our own southern border here in the United States of America. We’re driving Russia further into China’s hands. The Russia-China alliance is the single greatest threat we face and I find it offensive that we have professional politicians on the stage that will make a pilgrimage to Kyiv, to their pope Zelensky without doing the same thing for people in Maui or the south side of Chicago or Kensington. I think that we have to put the interest of Americans first, secure our own border instead of somebody else’s, and the reality is this is also how we project strength by making America strong at home.

Bret Baier (01:27:25):

We heard the names. Governor Christie first.

Chris Christie (01:27:29):

All right, look, I did go to Ukraine and I went to Ukraine because I wanted to see for myself what Vladimir Putin’s army was doing to the free Ukrainian people. Let me tell you, I want you all to look around this arena tonight and imagine that every one of these seats was filled, and if every one of them was filled, there would still be 2,500 more children outside to make over 20,000 who have been abducted, stolen, ripped from their mothers and fathers and brought back to Russia to be programmed to fight their own families. They have gouged out people’s eyes, cut off their ears and shot people in the back of the head, men, and then gotten into those homes and raped the daughters and the wives who were left as widows and orphans. This is the Vladimir Putin who Donald Trump called brilliant and a genius. If we don’t stand up against this type of autocratic killing in the world, we will be next.

Martha Maccallum (01:28:39):

I have a question for Governor Haley. We’ll come back.

Bret Baier (01:28:46):

Vice President Pence was mentioned. You get 30 seconds.

Mike Pence (01:28:49):

Well, let me be clear. Anybody that thinks that we can’t solve the problems here in the United States and be the leader of the free world has a pretty small view of the greatest nation on earth.

Vivek Ramaswamy (01:28:59):

That is incorrect.

Mike Pence (01:29:00):

We can do both, Vivek. We’ve done both. We’ve been the leader of the free world in the arsenal of democracy for years. The Reagan doctrine years ago made it clear. We said, “If you’re willing to fight the communists on your soil, we’ll give you the means to fight him there so our troops don’t have to fight him.” Vivek, if we do the giveaway that you want to give to Putin to give him his land, it’s not going to be too long before he rolls across a NATO border, and frankly, our men and women of our armed forces are going to have to go and fight him. I want to let the Ukrainians fight and drive Putin and the Russians back out into Russia so our troops aren’t going to have to make that fight.

Vivek Ramaswamy (01:29:34):

I want to just briefly address Vice President Pence. I have a news flash, the USSR does not exist anymore. It fell back in 1990.

Mike Pence (01:29:41):

Did I say USSR?

Vivek Ramaswamy (01:29:43):

You talked about the communists and the real communists that we have to address right now-

Mike Pence (01:29:46):

Do you do not have any idea what Putin’s aims are?

Vivek Ramaswamy (01:29:48):

You already spoke, now I actually have something to say.

Mike Pence (01:29:50):

Vladimir Putin has been saying he wants to reestablish the old Soviet sphere of influence.

Vivek Ramaswamy (01:29:55):

You’ve made your point, Vice President.

Bret Baier (01:29:57):

Vice President Pence …

Mike Pence (01:29:58):

I’m sorry if I insulted him by calling him a communist. He’s a dictator and a murderer and the United States of America needs to stand against authoritarianism.

Bret Baier (01:30:10):

Mr. Ramaswamy, 30 seconds.

Vivek Ramaswamy (01:30:11):

Please may I respond? The real threat we face today is communist China and we are driving Russia further into China’s arms. The Russia-China military alliance is the single greatest threat we face. Nobody in either political party’s talking about it, and I am the only non [inaudible 01:30:29] that will keep us out of war.

Bret Baier (01:30:32):

Mr. Vice President, we can’t hear … Mr. Vice President.

Mike Pence (01:30:33):

… is to give Russia everything they’ve got.

Bret Baier (01:30:35):

Mr. Vice President.

Mike Pence (01:30:36):

Give them a promise that Ukraine will never be in NATO, and then somehow-

Bret Baier (01:30:41):

Mr. Vice President.

Mike Pence (01:30:41):

China will not think about taking Taiwan. We achieve peace through strength.

Bret Baier (01:30:47):

Mr. Vice President.

Mike Pence (01:30:48):

America needs to stand for freedom.

Bret Baier (01:30:50):

Okay, here we go.

Martha Maccallum (01:30:52):

I think we need to establish some ground rules here.

Bret Baier (01:30:54):

When we hear this bell, that means your time’s done.

Martha Maccallum (01:30:59):

You’re done.

Bret Baier (01:31:00):

So, Mr. Vice President, we appreciate your aggressiveness here. 30 seconds is 30 seconds. Mr. Ramaswamy, you were mentioned. You get 30 seconds

Vivek Ramaswamy (01:31:08):

The reality is that today, Ukraine is not a priority for the United States of America. I think that the same people who took us into the Iraq War, the same people who took us into the Vietnam War, cannot start another no win war. I do not want to get to the point where we’re sending our military resources abroad when we could be better using them here at home to protect our own borders, protect the homeland. That will be my top priority for the policy, to protect this homeland.

Martha Maccallum (01:31:37):

I think we gave you more than the 30 seconds in the revise. I do want to get to some other people because we respect everybody’s time here. Governor Haley, you did not raise your hand, meaning that you would support more funding for the Ukraine War. You have said of Governor DeSantis that you didn’t appreciate it when he initially called it a territorial dispute. Why?

Nikki Haley (01:32:01):

First of all, the American president needs to have moral clarity. They need to know the difference between right and wrong. They need to know the difference between good and evil. When you look at the situation with Russia and Ukraine, here you have a pro-American country that was invaded by a thug. When you want to talk about what has been given to Ukraine, less than 3.5% of our defense budget has been given to Ukraine. If you look at the percentages per GDP, 11 of the European countries have given more than the US. But what’s really important is go back to when China and Russia held hands, shook hands before the Olympics and named themselves unlimited partners.

A win for Russia is a win for China. We have to know that. Ukraine is the first line of defense for us. The problem that Vivek doesn’t understand is he wants to hand Ukraine to Russia, he wants to let China eat Taiwan, he wants to go and stop funding Israel. You don’t do that to friends. What you do instead is you have the backs of your friends. Ukraine, it’s a front line of defense. Putin has said once Russia takes Ukraine, Poland and the Baltics are next. That’s a world war. We’re trying to prevent war. Look at what Putin did today. He killed Prigozhin. When I was at the UN, the Russian ambassador suddenly died. This guy is a murderer and you are choosing a murderer over a pro-American country.

Bret Baier (01:33:27):

First of all, Mr. Ramaswamy, you have 30 seconds. Governor DeSantis, [inaudible 01:33:36].

Vivek Ramaswamy (01:33:35):

I wish you well in your future career on the boards of Lockheed and Raytheon.

Nikki Haley (01:33:43):

I’m not on the board of Lockheed and Raytheon, and you have put down everyone on this stage.

Vivek Ramaswamy (01:33:44):

But you’ve pushing this lie all week. Nikki,

Nikki Haley (01:33:50):

But you know what? You want to go and defund Israel, you want to give Taiwan to China-

Vivek Ramaswamy (01:33:50):

Let me address that. I’m glad you brought that up.

Nikki Haley (01:33:51):

You want to go and give Ukraine to Russia.

Vivek Ramaswamy (01:33:52):

I’m going to address each of those right now. This is the false lies of a professional politician. There you have it.

Nikki Haley (01:34:00):

He will America less safe. Under your watch, you will make America less safe. You have no foreign politic experience and it shows. It shows.

Vivek Ramaswamy (01:34:18):

You know what? The foreign policy experience that you have shows in the pointless wars we’ve gotten into. I have to address that. Our relationship with Israel will never be stronger than by the end of my first term. But it’s not client relationship. It’s a friendship. You know what friends do? Friends help each other stand on their own two feet. I will lead Abraham Accords 2.0. I will partner with Israel to make sure Iran never is nuclear armed. But you know what I love about Israel? I’ve been there probably in the last 10 years more than most people on this stage. You know what I love about them? I love their border policies. I love their tough on crime policies. I love that they have a national identity and an iron dome to protect their homeland. So yes, I want to learn from the friends that we’re supporting and what puzzles me-

Nikki Haley (01:34:51):

No, you want to cut them out of NATO.

Vivek Ramaswamy (01:34:52):

No, I want to learn from those and apply those to protect our homeland, Nikki. That is the answer.

Nikki Haley (01:34:54):

Let me tell you, it’s not that Israel needs America. America needs Israel. They are the front line defense to Iran.

Ron DeSantis (01:35:00):

Can we move on?

Bret Baier (01:35:01):

Governor DeSantis, you were mentioned in the territorial dispute, not only-

Nikki Haley (01:35:04):

No, it’s not a territorial dispute either.

Ron DeSantis (01:35:06):

As President of the United States, your first obligation is to defend our country and its people. That means you’re sending all this money, but you’re not doing what we need to do to secure our own border. We have tens of thousands of people-

Nikki Haley (01:35:21):

We can do both at the same time.

Ron DeSantis (01:35:22):

… who are being killed because … Well, we’re not handling both.

Nikki Haley (01:35:26):

We can do doth at the same time.

Ron DeSantis (01:35:27):

So I’m going to declare it a national emergency. I’m not going to send troops to Ukraine, but I am going to send them to our southern border. When these drug pushers are bringing fentanyl across the border, that’s going to be the last thing they do. We’re going to use force and we’re going to leave them stone-cold dead.

Bret Baier (01:35:43):

We are actually going to move on to China. We’re going to talk about China.

Martha Maccallum (01:35:47):


Bret Baier (01:35:48):

Governor Burgum, China has the biggest navy in the world, the biggest army in the world. Now they have warships off the coast of Alaska. They’re threatening Taiwan. In coming years, China will have 1500 nuclear warheads, it’s believed. The US just arrested two sailors accused of spying for China within our military. So the question is, how would you deter China as a President Burgum?

Doug Burgum (01:36:14):

Well, this is the number one issue we’re facing and of course we haven’t been talking about it and we act like that letting Russia win in the Ukraine is like a [inaudible 01:36:21] as opposed to a gift to China. Russia has become China’s gas station, but how would we do it? The Biden administration is a complete fail. China imports 10 million barrels of oil a day more than any other country in the world. They do not even have all the food they need to feed everybody in that country, so they don’t have energy security or food security. But the Biden administration sends Blinken, Yellen over there. They don’t even bring up energy because they’re too busy trying to kill the US energy here. What we need to do is not meetings, not press releases, because something that would send a lot more than a press release is actually harpoon missiles.

We need anti-ship missiles on Taiwan. The way that you have a war never start, which is the goal, the way you have peace through strength is that you actually have strength. You actually have deterrence. What we’ve got going on in Ukraine is an example of when deterrence fail. What is an example there of Biden’s disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan, the fact that he green-lighted Putin moving into Ukraine, and then now they see weakness, and when they see weakness, they make a move. We have to make strong and we have to be strong both in Ukraine and we can solve the southern border. Absolutely, we can do that because guess what? There’s only 19,855 authorized people for the border patrol, but they’re not all staff because the Biden administration doesn’t enforce law enforcement. But Biden administration wanted to put 87,000 people in the IRS as opposed to giving the money and the support we need to our own border patrol.

Martha Maccallum (01:37:53):

Senor Scott.

Bret Baier (01:37:53):

Senator Scott on China, that same question.

Mike Pence (01:37:55):

Can I speak about China?

Tim Scott (01:37:57):

Let’s fire the 87,000 IRS agents and hire or double the number of border patrol agents. I just left Yuma, Arizona about two weeks ago. The most pressing need of the American people from a national security standpoint is our southern border. It has led to the death of 70,000 Americans because of fentanyl, plus six million illegal crossings since President Biden has taken office and 200 people on our national security watch list have been caught at our border. How many have not been caught at our southern border? If we just spend $10 billion, we could finish the wall. For five billion more, we could have the military grade technology to surveil our southern border to stop the flow of fentanyl and save 70,000 Americans a year. That should be the priority of this government and as the next President of the United States, I will make that border wall complete.

Bret Baier (01:39:06):

There are many more questions on China. I do want to ask about-

Doug Burgum (01:39:10):

I want to say I couldn’t agree more. It’s not just the 70,000 from fentanyl. We’ve lost 200,000 people to overdoses since Biden took office. That’s 300 people a day. We’re taking mass casualties and that’s a statistic, but these are sons and daughters, nieces and nephews that we’re losing. We’ve got North Dakota troops down there flying night helicopter missions from San Diego to the Gulf Coast trying to stop these transnational criminal organizations. They’ve got better funding on their side than we’ve got on our side.

Bret Baier (01:39:36):

Speaking of which, images from earlier this month, Governor Hutchinson-

Mike Pence (01:39:42):

[inaudible 01:39:42] with Mexico.

Bret Baier (01:39:43):

Vice President Pence.

Mike Pence (01:39:43):

[inaudible 01:39:44] Mexico policy.

Bret Baier (01:39:45):

Images from earlier this month-

Mike Pence (01:39:46):

100 miles of wall, we secure [inaudible 01:39:48].

Bret Baier (01:39:47):

Vice President Pence, it really doesn’t help. I’m asking a question. Earlier this month, images showed suspected cartel members crossing into Texas with rifles. Do you consider this an invasion? Would you authorize lethal force along that border?

Asa Hutchinson (01:40:08):

There would be lethal force used by the border patrol, law enforcement as needed to protect the border. Absolutely. When you look at the military, the military has to be used for intelligence gathering purposes. This is not unusual. Whenever I was in the Bush administration, we went down there and met with President Vicente Fox of Mexico and asked his help in going after the cartels, and he looked at me and said, “They’re a problem to us as well.” So we joined together and we took down the Ariana Felix brothers leading the Tijuana cartel and that made a difference. Ramon was shot and killed and [inaudible 01:40:50] was captured.

Cooperation makes a difference. We cannot be successful going against the cartel unless we bring in Mexico as a partner. We have to use economic pressure to accomplish that. President Obrador has not been helpful and we have to use economic pressure that this administration is not using. The rule of law has to matter on both sides of it. This is critical. I’ve done it. We know what needs to be done. The military has to be limited in its use. After 9/11, we had the global war on terror, and guess what? We protected the border at the same time. You can do both.

Martha Maccallum (01:41:32):

Let’s go to Governor DeSantis. As president, would you support sending us special forces over the border into Mexico to take out fentanyl labs, to take out drug cartel operations? Would you support that kind of American military use?

Ron DeSantis (01:41:50):

Yes, and I will do it on day one. Here’s the thing, the cartels are killing tens of thousands of our fellow citizens. You want to talk about a country in decline? You have the cartels controlling a lot of part of your southern border. We have to reestablish the rule of law and we have to defend our people. The President of the United States has got to use all available powers as commander in chief to protect our country and to protect the people. When they’re coming across, yes, we’re going to use lethal force, yes, we reserve the right to operate. How many more tens of thousands are we going to let to die? I am sick. I’ve met angel moms throughout this country. I met a lady in Texas named Tracy, and her son took one Percocet that was laced with fentanyl, immediately died. That is happening all across this country because of the poison that they are bringing in. As president, would I use force, would I treat him as foreign terrorist organizations? You’re darn right I would.

Bret Baier (01:42:56):

Vice President Pence, why would you be better at this issue than Governor DeSantis? Governor DeSantis on the campaign trail refers to your administration as not finishing the wall.

Mike Pence (01:43:10):

Right. Look, we secured the southern border of the United States of America and reduced illegal immigration and asylum abuse by 90%. When Joe Biden took over, he threw open the southern border of the United States and the wave of humanity, the wave of fentanyl that’s been eloquently described here is a wave of human tragedy across this country. But Martha, you began this evening talking about who is best prepared to be the next President of the United States. I have to tell you, with all humility, I was there when we negotiated through the government shutdown and got the funding available to build the wall. I was negotiating on Capitol Hill around the clock. I negotiated the remaining Mexico policy on behalf of the President of the United States and Asa, you’re so right. It’s because we used economic pressure to bring the Mexicans to the table and they allowed us to have people wait in Mexico while they applied for asylum and ended asylum abuse overnight.

We got the Mexicans to deploy their national Guard to their southern border and to our southern border as never before. I want to promise you, as President of the United States of America, I will engage Mexico the exact same way and we will partner with the Mexican military and we will hunt down and destroy the cartels that are claiming lives in the United States of America.

Martha Maccallum (01:44:38):

Thank you. Another issue that is related to this is that almost seven million migrants have crossed this border, our southern border, during the Biden administration. Governor Christie, what would you do about the seven million who are here? How would you handle them? What would you do?

Chris Christie (01:44:56):

Look, Martha, the first thing we need to do is to stop any more from coming.

Chris Christie (01:45:00):

… coming. That’s the first thing we need to do. Then, the next thing we need to do with the folks that are here is to, again, as we’ve talked about all night tonight, we have to have law and order in this country. We have to enforce the law. What that means is to make sure that people who come here illegally are not rewarded for being here illegally. We have so many wonderful people from around the world who are waiting in line, following the law to try to come here and pursue the American dream, and those people are waiting and waiting and waiting because we haven’t dealt with the problem of the folks who are here. We have to have them detained. We have to make sure that they are not rewarded for having broken the law.

One last thing on this fentanyl issue. With China, we can’t take our eye off of that ball. Yes, it’s important that we secure the border. Very important, as I just said. But China is sending these chemicals to these drug cartels for them to create the fentanyl that is killing hundreds of thousands of our citizens. The Chinese are engaging in an act of war against us killing our citizens. We better make that priority one in our conversations with China and to try to straighten that relationship out because if we don’t, we’re going to lose more and more of our citizens.

Martha Maccallum (01:46:21):

I just want to clarify, would you send those people back?

Chris Christie (01:46:25):

Of course. You’d have to.

Bret Baier (01:46:29):

We have a lot of issues that Americans care about. Next up, we’re going to talk about the crisis in education. As millions of American children are not proficient in reading or math. After this.

Speaker 8 (01:46:46):

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President Biden (01:47:49):

Guess what? Bidenomics is working.

Russell Brand (01:48:19):

Rumble has to be a place that welcomes everybody, where you’ll feel free to be who you are, where you respect another person’s freedom in exchange for your own freedom for being respected. I believe that ultimately and fundamentally, we can do this together without top-down authority that we can regulate democratically our own community. You can be you. I can be me without judgment, beyond acceptance, love and enthusiasm for the billions of ways that is possible to be a human being.

Speaker 18 (01:48:58):

Bravo, Romeo. Charlie, Charlie. You are cleared for ready to drink drop.

Speaker 8 (01:49:45):

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Bret Baier (01:50:45):

The nation’s report card was the weakest ever for American schoolchildren, exposing chronic absenteeism, deep declines for reading and math for 15-year-olds and 13-year-olds. Governor DeSantis, you would eliminate, you said the Department of Education, but as president, would you still have a responsibility to fix this crisis as we see it?

Ron DeSantis (01:51:08):

Absolutely. The decline in education is one of the major reasons why our country is in decline. We need education in this country, not indoctrination in this country. In Florida, we stood up for what was right. First, we had schools open during COVID and a lot of the problems that we’ve seen are because these lockdown states locked their kids out of school for a year, year and a half. That was wrong. We stood up. I took a lot of fire for that. I was pilloried by the media, but I stood for our kids, and as president, I’ll stand for you and your kids as well. But we have to make sure that what our schools are doing is focusing on solid academics. In Florida, we eliminated critical race theory from our K-12 school. We eliminated gender ideology from our K-12 schools, and we have elevated the importance of American civics in teaching our kids about the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. As president, I’m going to lead an effort to increase civic understanding and knowledge of our constitution. We cannot be graduating students that don’t have any foundation in what it means to be an American.

Bret Baier (01:52:16):

Mr. Ramaswamy-

Tim Scott (01:52:17):

The problem with-

Bret Baier (01:52:19):

Mr. Ramaswamy, hold on, Senator Scott. You’ve said that the Department of Education, the FBI, the ATF, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the IRS, the Department of Commerce, many of these should not exist.

Vivek Ramaswamy (01:52:32):

That’s correct.

Bret Baier (01:52:34):

To the education question, how would you deal with the crisis?

Vivek Ramaswamy (01:52:38):

Look, we have a crisis of achievement. Let’s shut down the head of the snake, the Department of Education. Take that $80 billion, put it in the hands of parents across this country. This is the civil rights issue of our time. Allow any parent to choose where they send their kids to school, end the teachers unions at the local level to allow public schools to compete and then revive our national identity, where every high school senior should have to pass the same civics test that frankly, every immigrant, including my mother, had to pass in order to become a citizen of this country.

The fact of the matter is, look, there’s a part of education policy that also rests with the family. I didn’t grow up in money, but the word privilege gets used a lot. Well, you know what? I did have the ultimate privilege of two parents in the house with a focus on educational achievement and I want every kid to enjoy that. Part of the problem is we also have a federal government that pays single women more not to have a man in the house than to have a man in the house contributing to an epidemic of fatherlessness, and I think that goes hand in glove with the education crisis as well because we have to remember education starts with the family and the nuclear family is the greatest form of governance known to mankind.

Martha Maccallum (01:53:56):

Governor Burgum, Governor Haley has said that biological boys playing in girls sports is the women’s issue of our time. You said that even though you signed a ban on this in North Dakota, that there hadn’t been one instance where it was actually needed. Are you saying that you think that too much is made of this issue?

Doug Burgum (01:54:17):

No, I’m saying in North Dakota, we made a priority of protecting women’s sports and we’ve done that in our state, but I would absolutely do that. But I do think when we start talking about education and we think that we’re going to have a federal government one-size-fits-all, we’re just completely losing track of the fact that education differs by states. Some school districts are doing a fantastic job, some less so. But the idea that every school district, state and every teacher is somehow indoctrinating people is just false.

When I was building a company from scratch with small town kids, and we grew up in a town of 300, but we built a global company in 132 countries with over 100,000 customers, we listened to those customers, we spent time with them, we talked to them, we did that. As governor, well, education’s one of the biggest part of a state budget. As a governor, I go, I shadow a student. The night before, the student finds out I’m going to go to every class with them. I don’t sit and lecture school districts how to do it. I go and see the experience and there’s a lot of things that have to change, but what needs to change in education is its innovation. We’re doing it the same way We did it 50 years ago.

With innovation, not regulation. I would get rid of the Department of Education, I would give block grants to schools, but I’d give them on merit based on who’s doing the most innovative. I just got done holding the seventh annual Governor’s Conference on Innovation Education. You should see what the people are doing when you cut loose the red tape, get the burden off their back. They care. Teachers in this country, the vast majority of them care about those kids. They’re working in low-paying jobs and they’re fighting for those kids and their families.

Martha Maccallum (01:55:48):

Governor Haley, you said that this is the women’s issue of our time.

Nikki Haley (01:55:52):

First, I’ll tell you, as a parent, the one thing you want is for your child to have a better life than you did. We can talk about all of these things and there’s a lot of crazy woke things happening in schools, but we’ve got to get these kids reading. If a child can’t read by third grade, they’re four times less likely to graduate high school, so we need to make sure we bring in reading remediation all over this country. We need transparency in the classroom because parents should never have to wonder what’s being said or taught to their children in the classroom. Parents need to be deciding which schools their kids go to because they know best, and let’s put vocational classes back into the high schools. Let’s teach our kids to build things again.

When we do that and we allow that innovation, that’s when it’ll get back. And yes, I will always say, I’m going to fight for girls all day long because strong girls become strong women. Strong women become strong leaders and biological boys don’t belong in the locker rooms of any of our girls.

Mike Pence (01:56:50):

Another point of education.

Martha Maccallum (01:56:54):

We’re going to start the lightning round and the first question is going to go to you, Vice President. This is a lightning round of questions. 30- second answers, please. President Biden will be 82 years old on inauguration day. Nearly 70% of Americans say that he is too old to serve. Should presidents have to pass a mental and physical test in order to serve, Vice President Pence?

Mike Pence (01:57:20):

Well, it might be a good idea to have everybody in Washington, D.C. Pass a mental and health test. 30 seconds, no. The American people can make those judgements. But let me say, I’m running for president in the United States because we don’t need a president who’s too old and we don’t need a president who’s too young. We need a president who’s been there. We need a president who knows how Congress works, how the White House works, how states work. On this education issue, Martha, I was fighting against No Child Left Behind when Republicans were double in the Department of Education. I’ll also shut down the Federal Department of Education and when I was governor, we doubled the size of the largest School Choice program in America and we’ll give School Choice to every family in America when I’m in the White House.

Bret Baier (01:58:10):

This is a lightning round. Mr. Ramaswamy, I think you were mentioned there, you’re 38, you’re the youngest on the stage. You just said you want a civics test or public service for those under 25 to be able to vote, so the question is do you want a mental acuity test for presidents over 75?

Vivek Ramaswamy (01:58:26):

I believe in the people of this country to tell the difference between somebody who’s an automaton and somebody who’s actually a thinking agent in the White House, which we don’t have in there today. I will tell you, I want to address Vice President Pence’s comment. I think we do need somebody of a different generation to lead this nation forward. Look at the way I’ve run this campaign. Go into the south side of Chicago, to Kensington in the middle of Philadelphia where traditional Republican candidates don’t go. We have an opportunity to build a multi-ethnic working class majority to deliver a landslide and I think I’m the only candidate in this race, young or old, Black or white, to bring all of those voters along to deliver a Reagan 1980 revolution. We’re going to do it in 2024.

Bret Baier (01:59:05):

Same question, Governor-

Mike Pence (01:59:08):

You would never vote in a presidential election until 2020.

Vivek Ramaswamy (01:59:10):

I will answer that. I will answer that.

Martha Maccallum (01:59:11):

You have 30 seconds. 30 seconds.

Vivek Ramaswamy (01:59:13):

Quick answer.

Martha Maccallum (01:59:13):

You guys-

Doug Burgum (01:59:13):

No, no, no, no, hold on.

Martha Maccallum (01:59:13):

You all need get to in control of this. Everybody’s going to get, we have to get in control of this debate.

Bret Baier (01:59:15):

Listen, listen. We’re getting control of the debate. This is a lightning round, not rolling thunder. Governor Hutchinson, you have 30 seconds on the same question.

Asa Hutchinson (01:59:27):

On education, first of all, look at Arkansas. We have to compete with China. I built computer science education. We led the nation in computer science education going from 1,100 students to 23,000 students taking it. This is how you compete with China. As President of the United States, I will make sure we go from 51% of our schools offering computer science to every school in rural areas and urban areas offering computer science for the benefit of our kids and we can compete with China in terms of technology.

Martha Maccallum (01:59:59):

Okay. Thank you, sir.

Tim Scott (02:00:00):

President Biden is-

Martha Maccallum (02:00:02):

This is coming to you. We’re trying to do a quick round of different topics here. Senator Scott, faith is on decline in this country. You talked about it a little bit before tonight. Is there a role for a President of the United States in changing that? What would you do to change that?

Tim Scott (02:00:20):

Well, our nation was founded upon the Judeo-Christian values that has made this greatest nation on God’s green earth. I’m a big believer in Ephesians 3:20 that God is able to do exceedingly, abundantly above all that we ask or imagine. Our responsibility should be to model the behavior we want others to follow. On education. The only way we change education in this nation is to break the backs of the teachers unions. They are standing in the door house of our kids, locking them into failing schools and locking them out of the greatest future they could have.

Bret Baier (02:00:57):

As president, Governor DeSantis, would you support some mandatory military service for all Americans?

Ron DeSantis (02:01:02):

I think it should be voluntary. I’m somebody that volunteered to serve, inspired by September 11 and I deployed to Iraq alongside US Navy SEALs in places like Fallujah, Ramadi, and it’s something that I think has taught me. When you go in that type of environment, anything you have, your personal agenda, you check it at the door. You go there and it’s about focusing on the mission above all else and guys come together and they get it done. That’s how I would view being the President of the United States. It’s not about me, it’s not about all these other side issues. My sole focus will be on your future and reversing this country’s decline.

Martha Maccallum (02:01:43):

Okay, now for something a little out of this world, and this is for you, Governor Christie. Do you believe that the recent spike in UFO encounters-

Chris Christie (02:01:54):

I get the UFO question?

Martha Maccallum (02:01:56):


Chris Christie (02:01:56):

Come on, man.

Martha Maccallum (02:01:59):

Okay. We’ve been hearing a lot of testimony in Congress and people are taking this a lot more seriously and we’re hearing that there are things going on that people aren’t aware of. If you were president, Governor Christie, would you level with the American people about what the government knows about these possible encounters?

Chris Christie (02:02:20):

Look, Martha, and especially coming from a woman from New Jersey, I think it’s horrible that just because I’m from New Jersey, you asked me about unidentified flying objects and Martians. We’re different, but we’re not that different. Look, of course, the job of the President of the United States is to level with the American people about everything. The job of the President of United States is to stand for truth. The job of the President of the United States is to be a role model for our children and our grandchildren. Whether it was UFOs or this problem of education, and Tim’s right, by the way, and I started this in 2010 by going right after the teachers unions in New Jersey and drove them down to an all-time low popularity rating because they’re putting themselves before our kids. That is the biggest threat to our country, not UFOs.

Bret Baier (02:03:15):

Okay. Well, coming up, we’ve got closing arguments plus right after the debate, Hannity is live from the spin room right here in the Fiserv Forum with reaction from all the candidates as soon as they step off the stage. We’ll be back after this.

Speaker 8 (02:03:30):

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Speaker 19 (02:04:37):

How are we looking up there, Sergeant Best?

Speaker 20 (02:04:39):

On target on, on target, boys! Fire [inaudible 02:05:21] Fire!

Russell Brand (02:05:36):

Rumble has to be a place that welcomes everybody, where you’ll feel free to be who you are, where you respect another person’s freedom in exchange for your own freedom for being respected. I believe that ultimately and fundamentally, we can do this together without top-down authority, that we can regulate democratically our own community. You can be you. I can be me, without judgment, beyond acceptance, love, and enthusiasm for the billions of ways that is possible to be a human being.

Cade Courtley (02:06:11):

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Speaker 21 (02:06:59):

I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands-

Speaker 22 (02:07:02):

Oh my god, another plane has just hit.

Speaker 23 (02:07:02):

I just saw a huge ball of fire.

Speaker 21 (02:07:22):

One nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

Speaker 8 (02:07:26):

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Martha Maccallum (02:08:16):

A live look at the Reagan Library as the sun sets in Simi Valley, California. We’ll see you there next month when our colleagues at Fox Business host the next 2024 Showdown.

Bret Baier (02:08:25):

Fox Business is partnering with Univision, the Reagan Foundation and Rumble to bring you the second Republican presidential debate on September 27th. It looks pretty nice there.

20 years ago, 70% of American adults said they were extremely proud to be an American. That number has now plummeted to just 39%. In his pitch to get to the Oval Office, President Reagan called America the shining city on a hill, a beacon of hope and optimism.

Martha Maccallum (02:08:56):

In your closing statement tonight, please tell American voters why you are the person who can inspire this nation to a better day. These are 45 seconds and we begin with Governor Burgum.

Doug Burgum (02:09:11):

I understand why America’s hurting. Biden’s inflation is choking us. I grew up in a small town. My dad died when I was freshman in high school. My mom, widow of three, went back to work. Every job I had growing up was one where I took a shower at the end of the day, not at the beginning of the day. Our cities are less safe because of the fentanyl pouring into this country. Our economy is being crushed by Biden’s energy policies which are raising the cost of every product you buy, not just the gasoline at the pump.

One thing that I’ll do as president, I’ll secure the border. I’ll get this economy sprinting, not crawling like it is right now, and I would say that other thing is for sure when I’m on a horseback in the Badlands in North Dakota, it looks like the horizon is just limitless. When you can almost see beyond that horizon, you can see that this great country, our future is unlimited, but we’ve got to focus on innovation, not regulation. We’ve got to cut the red tape. We’ve got to drive ourselves toward the way we win the Cold War with China is by growing our economy and through innovation, and as president, I will bring out the best of America. I will improve every American life.

Bret Baier (02:10:21):

Governor Hutchinson.

Martha Maccallum (02:10:22):

Well, I hope you’re back on your horse soon, Governor.

Bret Baier (02:10:26):

Governor Hutchinson.

Asa Hutchinson (02:10:28):

Our nation is in trouble and is in trouble because of failed leadership and the solution is not four more years of Joseph Biden. The solution is not four more years of Donald Trump. The solution is new leadership that can bring bold ideas to America and to bring out the best of America. A president’s number one responsibility is to bring out the best of our people. That’s what Ronald Reagan did, and he did it with optimism and hope for our country with consistent conservatism. That’s exactly what I bring. As president, I’ll bring out the best of America in terms of individual responsibility, building our economy, in terms of securing our border, enforcing the rule of law. I’ll bring out the best of America in terms of our national character, our faith, and our hope for the future. Join in this fight,

Martha Maccallum (02:11:26):

Thank you. Senator Scott.

Tim Scott (02:11:29):

Thank you. I was a disillusioned young man growing up in a single-parent household mired in poverty. I wondered if the American dream was real for a kid like me. I can stand before you today and say the dream is alive, it is well and it is healthy. I have the good fortune of a mom who works 16-hour days making sure we have food on our tables. She taught me that if you’re able-bodied in America, you work. If you take out a loan, you pay it back. If you commit a violent crime, you go to jail, and if God made you a man, you play sports against men. I’m Tim Scott. I’m asking you for your vote and if you’re in Iowa, I’m asking you to caucus for me. You can go to for more information or to make a contribution.

Bret Baier (02:12:18):

Governor Christie.

Chris Christie (02:12:22):

Thank you, Bret. Thank you, Martha. Look, everybody on this stage wants to be the next President of the United States, and the only way that’s going to happen is if we beat Joe Biden. I’m the only one on this stage who’s ever beaten the Democratic incumbent in election. I did it in a deep Blue state being outspent three to one. Beating a Democratic incumbent is not easy. The last Democratic incumbent president who was defeated was Jimmy Carter, and he was defeated by a Conservative governor from a Blue state who knew how to get results, who stood for the truth, who cared about accountability and stood strong and hard against waste. Those are the very things that I did in my eight years as governor of New Jersey, and it’s exactly what I’ll do as President of the United States. Believe me, the Democrats want some other nominee who’s never beaten the Democratic incumbent. I’m the one who can win this race, and if you give me the chance, I will restore our country by winning it.

Martha Maccallum (02:13:19):

Thank you. Governor Haley.

Nikki Haley (02:13:24):

Several weeks ago, I dropped my husband Michael, a combat veteran from Afghanistan off at 4:00 a.m. for another year-long deployment. I watched him and 230 soldiers pick up their two duffle bags of belongings to go to a country they had never been, all in the name of protecting America. If they are willing to protect us from there, we should be willing to fight for America here. I will beat Joe Biden and he knows that. I will strengthen our economy and we’ll bring this inflation down. We will put transparency in the classroom. We will secure our borders, we will have the backs of our law enforcement, and we will make sure we have a strong national security, and once again, we will make sure we have an America that is strong and proud. We have a country to save. Join us. Go to and let’s get it done.

Bret Baier (02:14:23):

Vice President Pence.

Mike Pence (02:14:24):

Thank you, Bret and Martha, for this evening. It’s an honor to be here. Joe Biden has weakened America at home and abroad. The disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan, their war on energy, runaway spending that launched the worst inflation in 40 years, a crisis at our southern border, an assault on our values and liberties, and the American people have had enough. But I know we can bring it back. But different times call for different leadership. The Republican Party owes the American people the choice, proven leadership at the national level that knows how to move a Conservative agenda forward. We’ve proved in the Trump-Pence years, you can turn this country around faster than you can imagine, and I have faith we will again because I have faith in the American people, a good, decent, hardworking, faith-filled, idealistic people of this country, and I have faith that God is not done with America yet. If we will renew our faith in one another and renew our faith in Him, who has ever guided this nation since we arrived on these wilderness shores, I know the best days for the greatest nation on earth are yet to come.

Martha Maccallum (02:15:32):

Thank you. Mr. Ramaswamy.

Vivek Ramaswamy (02:15:34):

I was born in 1985 and I grew up into a generation where we were taught to celebrate our diversity and our differences so much that we forgot all of the ways we are really just the same as Americans bound by a common set of ideals that set this nation into motion in 1776, and this is our moment to revive those common ideals. God is real. There are two genders. Fossil fuels are a requirement for human prosperity. Reverse racism is racism. An open border is not a border. Parents determine the education of their children. The nuclear family is the greatest form of governance known to man. Capitalism lifts us up from poverty. There are three branches of government, not four, and the US Constitution, it is the strongest guarantor of freedom in human history. That is what won us the American Revolution. That is what will win us the revolution of 2024. Thanks for letting me introduce myself tonight. Thank you.

Bret Baier (02:16:49):

Governor DeSantis. Governor.

Ron DeSantis (02:16:50):

This is our time for choosing. We will send Joe Biden back to his basement and we will reverse the decline of this country. I’m a blue collar kid. I worked minimum wage jobs to be able to make ends meet. I understand the importance of the American dream and I know how that slipped away from so many millions of Americans, we’ll restore it. I’m a veteran who served in Iraq. I know what it means to put service above self. I’m also a dad and a husband to a six, five and three year old. I understand the importance of protecting parents’ rights and the wellbeing of our children. In Florida, we showed it could be done. I made promises and I delivered on all of those promises. 2024 is make or break. We’re not getting a mulligan. No excuses. I will get the job done and as your president, I will not let you down. God bless you all.

Bret Baier (02:17:38):

We want to say thank you. Thank you to all the candidates on the stage tonight, and thank you to Milwaukee.

Martha Maccallum (02:17:47):

Thank you, everybody. We will see you on the campaign trail from debates to primaries, to the general election and the conventions before that. Thanks for joining us. Sean Hannity from the spin room starts right now.

Bret Baier (02:17:59):

Take it away, Sean.

Martha Maccallum (02:17:59):

Take it away, Sean.

Sean Hannity (02:18:02):

All right. Well, thank you, both. By the way, great job, Martha and-

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