Trump offers gloating 'report card' after chaotic Fox News debate

 September 29, 2023

The chaotic, awkward spectacle of Wednesday night's second Republican primary debate was an unequivocal victory for the man who didn't show up: Donald Trump.

The absence of Trump's personality was felt in a messy - many would say embarrassing - event, with lots of crosstalk, canned applause lines, and no clear winner.

The presumptive nominee declared the debate a "complete waste of time" in a scathing post offering his "report card" on the various challengers.

Trump's "report card"

Trump praised North Dakota governor Doug Burgum as "solid & smart!" and said Tim Scott "stepped it up," while Vivek Ramaswamy also did a "good job."

On the other hand, Trump remarked that his former vice president Mike Pence - who some viewers remarked looked sickly - was "flat" and in need of an energy boost from his former boss.

"Lyin' Mike Pence has lost a lot of his energy," he continued. "Very flat, needs me badly! Actually, quite sad to watch, but he'll get better. Too much J-6!"

Trump called Chris Christie "sloppy" and a "Trump deranged lunatic," while labeling Nikki Haley a dishonest "Birdbrain." But the biggest loser was "Ron DeSanctimonious."

"Ron DeSanctimonious had a bad night. He can feel the end is near. Dropping like a rock!"

Waste of time?

Some of the biggest attacks at the debate were directed at Trump, who was over 2,000 miles away speaking with auto workers in Michigan.

Florida governor Ron DeSantis (R) - whose star has faded in recent months - declared Trump "missing in action" at the outset of the night, and Christie encapsulated the odd, artificial vibe of the evening when he dubbed Trump "Donald Duck" for ditching the debate.

Vivek Ramaswamy, the breakout star of the first debate, was also once again a top target, with rivals ripping him over his business ties to China and views on Ukraine. Ramaswamy was the black sheep with his call for a hands-off approach to the country and its war with Russia.

"Just because Putin is an evil dictator doesn't mean Ukraine is good," he said.

Nikki Haley reprised her feud with Ramaswamy from debate one - at one point knocking the political novice's intelligence during an exchange about TikTok.

Haley responds

“Every time I hear you, I feel a little bit dumber for what you say," Haley said.

At one point, Tim Scott and Nikki Haley argued about curtains - and Mike Pence left many viewers groaning when he attempted to stray from his strait-laced image with an off-color joke.

“I gotta admit, I’ve been sleeping with a teacher for 38 years,” Pence said, referring to his wife.

Trump declared the debates a "complete waste of time" and urged the Republican party to shift focus to defeating Joe Biden.

"I'm up 56 Points, so the Debates would seem to be a complete waste of time. I'm also up 10 on Crooked Joe! What is the RNC doing?" Trump wrote.

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