Donald Trump’s supporters were out in force outside the site of the second Republican primary debate on Wednesday evening – despite the 77-year-old being 2,000 miles away in Detroit.
The debate, hosted by Fox Business, will feature seven presidential candidates on stage at the Reagan National Library in Simi Valley, California.
But Trump skips the debate again.
Instead of challenging his rivals, he ignores them and holds a rally in Detroit in support of striking auto workers.
Trump’s visit comes just a day after Joe Biden was in Michigan, where the union stalwart joined striking workers on the picket line.
A Donald Trump fan is seen outside the Reagan National Library on Wednesday – despite Trump being 2,000 miles away
Trump’s die-hard fans were not deterred from attending the event in California by his absence
With waving flags and banners, Trump supporters showed their confidence in the Republican frontrunner
QUICK GUIDE TO THE SECOND GOP DEBATE
Where: Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California
When: Wednesday 27, 2023 at 9:00 PM – 11:00 PM ET
Who qualified: Ron DeSantis, Vivek Ramaswamy, Nikki Haley, Tim Scott, Chris Christie, Mike Pence and Doug Burgum
Hosts: Fox Business and Univision
Moderators: Fox News host Dana Perino, Fox Business host Stuart Varney and Univison’s Ilia Calderon
Where to watch: Fox Business Network, Fox News, Rumble, streaming platform Fox Nation, Univision (in Spanish), its streaming platform ViX and website UnivisionNoticias.com
Where will Trump be: In the Detroit, Michigan area, meeting with activist auto union workers and giving a speech
Michigan voters helped both Trump and Biden win the White House — Trump in 2016 and Biden in 2020 — and union voters played a big role in both elections.
Biden won union voters by 20 points in 2020.
Trump lost those voters overall, but by a much smaller margin, in 2016.
He won the state in 2016 by just over 10,000 votes.
In Simi Valley, all eyes will be on the seven Republicans vying for a position behind Trump – the absolute frontrunner.
To qualify for the second debate, the candidates needed at least 3 percent support in two national polls or 3 percent in one national poll, as well as two polls from four of the early voting states — Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina.
The White House hopefuls also needed at least 50,000 unique donors, with at least 200 coming from 20 states or territories.
They also had to sign an RNC pledge pledging to support the party’s eventual nominee, meaning even Chris Christie, the only person fiercely critical of Trump, would have to agree to support him if he is the nominee.
Trump has declined to say whether he will support the eventual nominee.
Many of his Republican colleagues have also dodged the question.
Donald Trump, seen on September 25, will be in Detroit on Wednesday after choosing to skip the debate again
A Trump fan shows her support for the 77-year-old in California
One fan made signs saying Trump, charged on 91 criminal counts, was ‘innocent’ and ‘wanted for president 2024’
Some of the former president’s fans beat drums and sang while waving their flags
A man in an embroidered Trump jacket shows his support, next to another fan of Trump’s planned border wall
The 77-year-old’s fans waved flags and banners despite him being away from California
Banners proclaimed Trump was the last hope ‘for America and the world’
Latinas for Trump showed off their t-shirts in California on Wednesday, outside the debate venue
Trump’s supporters were in high spirits on Wednesday, with their candidate well ahead in the polls
The stage is set for the debate, which will take place Wednesday at 9 PM ET
Seven candidates met the Republican National Committee’s increased qualifications to participate in the second primary debate. Above is a look at them on stage in California on Wednesday night
Christie, a former Trump ally and governor of New Jersey, will face Ron DeSantis, the governor of Florida and the current distant second to Trump in the polls.
DeSantis is closely followed by both political newcomer Vivek Ramaswamy, a biotech billionaire, and Nikki Haley, the former governor of South Carolina and Trump’s former UN ambassador.
Mike Pence, Trump’s vice president, will be on stage along with South Carolina Senator Tim Scott.
The seventh is candidate Doug Burgum, a former software entrepreneur who is now in his second term as governor of North Dakota.
Asa Hutchinson, the former governor of Arkansas, did not meet the debate criteria.