Republican candidates refuse to answer ‘Survivor’ question at debate

Donald Trump has refused to take part in any presidential debates during this year’s primaries

Martha McHardy
Thursday 28 September 2023 15:08 BST
Republican candidates refuse to answer ‘Survivor’ question on who should be voted ‘off the island’

The Republican candidates faced a Survivor-style elimination ceremony on Wednesday night during the second GOP primary debate.

The seven candidates were asked by moderator Dana Perino who should sacrifice themselves in order to defeat the party’s current frontrunner Donald Trump – but each and every one of them refused to answer.

“So which one of you onstage tonight should be voted off the island?” Ms Perino asked, asking the candidates to each name the individual they most think should drop out of the race.

Leading the charge, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis dismissed the question outright.

“I’m not going to do that, with all due respect, we’re here, we’re happy to debate, I think that that’s disrespectful to my fellow competitors,” he said.

The other candidates nodded in agreement.

Moderator Stuart Varney then asked former New Jersey governor Chris Christie if he had written a name down.

Mr Christie answered in the negative, saying he would “vote Donald Trump off the island” for failing to show up to the debate.

“No, but I’ll certainly tell you, look I think I’m the only one on this stage who’s been clear about this – I’d vote Donald Trump off the island right now and the reason I’d vote him off the island, every person on this stage has showed the respect for Republican voters,” Mr Christie argued.

“I have respect for every man and woman on this stage,” he added.

During the course of the debate, entrepreneur and MAGA advocate Vivek Ramaswamy was attacked by several contenders, but none opted to eliminate him from the island.

“Vivek, put your hand down for a second would you? I’ve still got time dude, so chill out,” Mr Christie told the 38-year-old at one point.

Former South Carolina governor Nikki Haley, Florida governor Ron DeSantis, US entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy, South Carolina senator Tim Scott and former Vice President Mike Pence arrive on stage prior to the debate (EPA)

Meanwhile, former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley told Mr Ramaswamy: “Honestly everytime I hear you I feel a little bit dumber from what you say.”

Mr Ramaswamy said he thought Donald Trump was an “excellent president” but voters now need a candidate who can take Mr Trump’s MAGA movement to the “next level.”

“So yes, I will respect Donald Trump and his legacy ... but will unite this country to take the America First agenda to the next level,” he said.

GOP front-runner Donald Trump has refused to take part in all of the Republican presidential primary debates so far.

Instead, during Wednesday night’s debate, Mr Trump visited a Michigan auto parts factory, and poked fun at the “job candidates” taking part in the debate.

“We are competing with the job candidates, they are all running for a job. They are all job candidates. They will do anything, Secretary of something, they even say VP. Has anyone seen a VP in that group? I don’t think so,” Mr Trump told the crowd at Drake Enterprises, an automotive manufacturing plant in Clinton Township.

He added: “They don’t have a crowd like we have, thousands of people outside who couldn’t get in.”

The former president currently has a 42.2 point lead in the polls over Mr DeSantis, according to Real Clear Politics.

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