The second Republican 2024 presidential debate took place without former President Donald Trump’s presence, however, his campaign team was closely monitoring the event. Chris LaCivita, a senior advisor to the Trump campaign, dismissed the debate as “boring and inconsequential,” stating that nothing said would alter the primary contest that is currently being dominated by Trump.
Despite not attending the first GOP primary debate either, Trump’s absence in the second debate did not go unnoticed amidst a whirlwind of political fireworks, exchanged insults, and criticism over the event’s structure. The focus inevitably shifted from the candidates onstage to the apparent front-runner of the race.
The Trump campaign clarified its stance on a potential third primary debate, with LaCivita asserting, “President Trump has a 40- or 50-point lead in the primary election and a 10-point lead over Joe Biden in the general election, and it’s clear that President Trump alone can defeat Biden.” He also urged the RNC to put an end to any further primary debates, suggesting resources should be diverted to defeating Joe Biden instead.
Among the candidates, Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL), who had been seen as the primary challenger to Trump, has been falling behind in the polls for months. Other candidates like former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley and entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy may have seen minor increases in their numbers since the first debate, but they still lag significantly behind Trump in polling projections.