The Top Moments From the Iowa Republican Debate That Matter

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Who News Iowa

The WHO News Iowa Republican presidential debate was a pivotal event just days before the state’s first-in-the-nation caucuses. Frontrunner Donald Trump skipped the debate, instead holding a town hall where he slammed President Biden. The spotlight turned to Trump’s leading challengers, Nikki Haley and Ron DeSantis, who sparred over major issues like immigration, Israel, Ukraine and abortion rights. Both Haley and DeSantis used their closing statements to make the case that they are better alternatives to Trump as the nominee. The Iowa debate highlighted how Republican candidates are positioning themselves on key issues as they try to gain an advantage before the consequential caucuses begin.

News from Iowa City

The Iowa Republican presidential debate offered critical insights into the 2024 nomination race. As the Iowa caucuses approach, the leading GOP candidates tried to stand out on major issues when they faced off on January 10. What were the key highlights that matter from the Iowa debate night?

Frontrunner Trump Skips Iowa Debate, Holds Town Hall

The Republican frontrunner in Iowa polling, Donald Trump, made waves by opting out of the debate in Des Moines. Instead, Trump held a town hall interview with Fox News at the same time. At his event across town, Trump mainly criticized President Joe Biden and reiterated his hardline stances. He mentioned wanting mass deportations if elected again. The former president also said he could broker peace deals abroad that Biden cannot.

Nikki Haley and Ron DeSantis Spar Over Israel and Ukraine Aid

With Trump absent, the Iowa debate spotlight fell on his two closest challengers – Nikki Haley and Ron DeSantis. The former UN ambassador and the Florida governor went after each other’s records. Haley portrayed DeSantis as weak on supporting Ukraine against Russia. She also said DeSantis fails to appreciate Israel’s importance to US interests. DeSantis fired back that Haley backs unlimited aid to Ukraine and cannot be trusted to put America first.

Immigration Takes Center Stage

One major focus of the Iowa Republican debate was immigration policy. Both Haley and DeSantis tried to showcase their tough stances on border security and deportations. DeSantis promised to finish building Trump’s border wall and make Mexico pay. Haley touted her efforts as South Carolina governor to enact strict anti-immigration laws. They presented themselves as the candidates who will crack down on illegal immigration.

Abortion Rights Sparks Divide

The debate also exposed a GOP divide on abortion after Roe v. Wade was overturned. Haley argued Republicans should seek to limit abortion access without demonizing the issue. DeSantis criticized Trump for calling Florida’s abortion restrictions “terrible.” He said the party needs to support mothers in addition to protecting life. At his town hall, Trump acknowledged the politics around abortion are tricky for Republicans right now.

Closing Arguments Target Trump

In their final statements, both Haley and DeSantis focused on why they can defeat not just President Biden but also Donald Trump. Haley said Trump represents “four more years of chaos” that America cannot afford. DeSantis made the case that he is not beholden to donors’ interests like Haley or to Trump’s positions. The debate offered Haley and DeSantis a platform to convince Iowa voters they are better options than frontrunner Trump.

Frequently Asked Questions About the Iowa Republican Debate

Who were the participants in the Iowa debate?

The leading participants were Nikki Haley and Ron DeSantis. Donald Trump opted not to attend the debate in Iowa.

What were some of the main issues discussed?

Immigration, Israel, Ukraine, and abortion access were among the major issues debated in Iowa. The candidates tried to distinguish their positions.

How did Trump respond to skipping the debate?

Trump held a friendly town hall interview with Fox News at the same time instead of debating. He criticized Biden and restated his hardline policies.

What were Haley’s and DeSantis’ strategies against Trump?

In their closing statements, Haley and DeSantis argued they are better choices than frontrunner Trump to take on Biden. They tried to present themselves as more reasonable alternatives.

How close are the Iowa caucuses?

The Iowa vote, the first nominating contest, will take place in just a matter of days on January 16. The debate was a final chance to appeal to Iowa Republican voters.

The Iowa WHO News Republican presidential debate highlighted critical dynamics in the 2024 nomination race. With Donald Trump leading the polls, his absent presence loomed large. His top two challengers used the platform to make their best pitches before the Iowa caucus upheaval begins. The debate made clear the issues that will take center stage as the Republicans battle towards the general election against President Biden.

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