Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and Former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley to Appear at CNN Debate
Next week’s Republican presidential debate is set to feature two prominent figures: Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and former United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley. The event, hosted by CNN, will take place on January 10th at 9 p.m. Eastern time in Des Moines, Iowa. This comes just five days ahead of the state’s first-in-the-nation GOP primary vote.
A Focus on Trump’s Chief Competition
Unlike previous debates, the CNN event will solely focus on the two candidates vying to become former President Donald Trump’s chief competition. Trump has consistently held a wide lead in polls among likely Republican voters. Moderated by Jake Tapper and Dana Bash, this debate will shed light on the potential competitors for the 2028 nomination.
Notable Absences and Criteria for Participation
Biotech entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy and former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie did not meet the qualifying criteria for the CNN event. Candidates were required to achieve at least 10% support in at least three specific polls among likely Republican voters or caucus-goers, with at least one poll measuring Iowa voters specifically.
Speaking on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” Christie acknowledged his lack of presence in Iowa and expressed no surprise at missing out on the debate stage. He pointed out that those who did qualify are unlikely to present compelling reasons for Iowans to choose them over Trump. According to Christie, DeSantis is effectively running for the 2028 nomination while Haley aims to be Trump’s vice presidential pick.
Predictions and Alternative Engagement
In a post on X, Ramaswamy predicted that the DeSantis-Haley debate would be “the most boring in modern history.” As an alternative, he announced his participation in a podcast hosted by right-wing pundit Tim Pool.
Stay tuned for what promises to be an intriguing glimpse into the future of the Republican Party as it seeks to establish its post-Trump identity.
Trump’s Approach to Debates Raises Questions
Trump’s Absence from Debates
Former President Donald Trump has consistently opted out of participating in the debates, citing his reluctance to elevate his lower-polling rivals. Instead, he has typically chosen to hold alternative events that align with his campaign strategy. For example, he recently granted an interview to Tucker Carlson and made a trip to Michigan to criticize President Joe Biden’s stance on electric cars during an ongoing automobile-industry strike.
Town Hall and Programming Changes
In an unprecedented move, Trump is scheduled to hold a town hall next Wednesday. Interestingly, this event will take place in the time slot usually occupied by one of his top media supporters, Sean Hannity. As a result, Hannity’s show will be preempted for that evening, and Fox anchors Bret Baier and Martha MacCallum will moderate the town hall instead.
The instigator behind this town hall remains unclear, whether it was initiated by the Trump campaign or Fox News itself. Notably, a spokesperson from CNN declined to comment on the counterprogramming.
Criticism from DeSantis and Haley
Both Governor Ron DeSantis and former Ambassador Nikki Haley have voiced their criticism of Trump’s decision to abstain from participating in the debates. DeSantis and Haley argue that with only three candidates qualifying for the debates, it is time for Trump to step up and demonstrate his commitment.
“As the debate stage continues to shrink, it’s getting harder for Donald Trump to hide,” Haley declared on Tuesday.
Alternative Interviews and Town Hall Events
While Trump declined interview requests from NBC News and the Des Moines Register, they have arranged a series of 30-minute interviews with DeSantis, Haley, and Ramaswamy. These interviews will be posted digitally on Wednesday. Additionally, both DeSantis and Haley are set to participate in separate town hall events on CNN this Thursday.
It remains to be seen how Trump’s absence from the debates will impact the political landscape and public perception._