Dec 6, 2023 - Politics & Policy

Megyn Kelly puts each Republican candidate on the spot at 4th GOP debate

GOP presidential candidates (L-R) former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and Vivek Ramaswamy during the fourth Republican presidential primary debate on Dec. 6 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Megyn Kelly opened the fourth Republican primary debate hosted by NewsNation on Wednesday by making each of the candidates answer when presented with detailed cases against them.

Why it matters: The debate qualifications have tightened so dramatically that each candidate can receive substantial scrutiny.

1. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, Kelly said, has spent the most money on his campaign, had a wave momentum at the start of the race and was "seen by many as the candidate most likely to consolidate the non-Trump field."

  • But, she added, "you haven't managed to do it. ... Is it fair to say... that voters are telling you not no, but not now?"
  • "So we have a great idea in America that the voters actually make these decisions, not pundits or pollsters," DeSantis fired back.
  • "I'm sick of hearing about these polls," he continued, saying the polls in November 2022 predicted a red wave, which didn't come.

2. Former United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley left government service in 2018 with $100,000 in the bank. Five years later, she is reportedly worth $8 million "thanks to lucrative corporate speeches and board memberships," Kelly said.

  • In recent weeks, Haley met with Wall Street heavyweights, Kelly said, and several "billionaire investors are reportedly ready to endorse you or recently have – all of which comes with expectations."
  • "Aren't you too tight with the banks and the billionaires to win over the GOP's working class base?" Kelly asked.
  • When it comes to corporate support, Haley respond, "we'll take it. ... I don't ask them what their policies are. They asked me what my policies are," she said. "Sometimes they agree with me, sometimes they don't ... That doesn't matter. That's who I am."

3. Businessman Vivek Ramaswamy campaigned as a unifier, Kelly said, but then attacked competitors during the previous debates.

  • "Can you see how this has led some to conclude you are not in fact a unifier and to question your authenticity," Kelly asked.
  • "I think there's a time and place for everything," Ramaswamy responded. "We need somebody in the White House who absolutely is going to be a fighter when it counts."
  • He pointed out that he said during the third debate that "there were some good people" on the stage. He added: "Doug Burgum was on that stage. ... I'll say that, jokingly Ron DeSantis is a good person too."

4. Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie previously endorsed Trump but has since "turned on him," Kelly said, adding that "you've even said that you got into this race just to stop President Trump."

  • "Voters may wonder how you could possibly become the nominee of a party that does not appear to like you very much?" Kelly asked.
  • "The fact is that when you go and you say the truth about somebody who is a dictator, a bully, who has taken shots at everybody, whether they've given him great service or not, over time, who dares to disagree with him?" Christie responded.
  • He pointed to his fellow three nominees saying they don't want to talk about Trump. "Maybe it's because they have future aspirations," Christie said.
  • "He is unfit," Christie continued. "This is a guy who just said this past week that he wants to use the Department of Justice to go after his enemies when he gets in there. ... There is no bigger issue in this race. "

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