Winners and losers of the second GOP presidential debate


Former President Trump 

Former President Trump without a doubt felt like the biggest winner on Wednesday night.  

He wasn’t on stage, and instead appeared at an event in Michigan that signaled he’s already moving his focus to a November 2024 general election against President Biden. 

Nikki Haley 

Nikki Haley, Trump’s former UN ambassador, emerged as the biggest winner who was actually on the debate stage on Wednesday night.   


Ron DeSantis  

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) came into Wednesday night’s event with perhaps the most to prove. After a muted showing in the first debate, observers said the governor needed a knockout performance in Simi Valley.  

Chris Christie  

Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) showed no signs of backing down from the anti-Trump persona he has cultivated in the primary, repeatedly attacking the former president and urging the party to move on. 


Vivek Ramaswamy

While Vivek Ramaswamy had a strong first debate performance last month, the tech entrepreneur-turned-politician struggled to handle the attacks his opponents threw at him on Wednesday evening.