GOP hopefuls at the second primary debate Wednesday night all declined a “Survivor” themed question intended to end the night, balking at the idea of picking a candidate to “vote off the island.”
Fox News moderator Dana Perino said that it’s clear that former President Trump would win the primary race if nobody drops out, so she asked who should be the first candidate to go.
Perino instructed the candidates to use their provided whiteboards to write a name — but they weren’t interested.
“Are you serious?” former U.N. ambassador Nikki Haley said, surprised by the question.
“I’ll decline to do that, with all due respect,” Gov. Ron DeSantis (Fla.) followed. “I think that that’s disrespectful to my fellow competitors.”
South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott also declined.
Only conservative entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy showed any interest in answering the initial prompt. But, sensing push back, the moderator pivoted to questioning the candidates on how they plan to defeat Trump, given his lead.
The faltering question, interrupted multiple times by audience laughter, was representative of what was considered a chaotic night for all involved. The debate was filled with personal attacks and candidates talking over each other so much that moderators at one point threatened Gov. Doug Burgum (N.D.) with turning off his microphone.
Nevertheless, Haley has been considered the best off after her performance, though Trump still holds a significant lead over all the candidates in primary polling.
Trump adviser Chris LaCivita called the event “boring” and “inconsequential” in a statement at the end of the evening.
According to national polling averages, the former president holds about 54 percent support in the GOP primary, with Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.) trailing with 14 percent and Haley in third with about 6 percent support.
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