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Chris Christie at debate: ‘Blame everybody’ in DC for failing US

By Jake Beardslee · September 27, 2023

In brief…

  • Candidates debated economic policies and immigration at the second Republican presidential debate.
  • Sen. Tim Scott and Gov. Ron DeSantis criticized President Biden's handling of auto strikes and border security.
  • Candidates blamed Washington's dysfunction for the pending government shutdown.
GOP presidential candidate ex-NJ Gov. Chris Christie (above) said voters should hold "failing" Washington, DC for government dysfundtion.  Don Graham/Flickr/Creative Commons

The second Republican presidential debate of 2024 took place Tuesday at the Ronald Reagan Library, featuring seven candidates vying for the GOP nomination. The contenders sparred over economic policies, with inflation a major point of contention, while front-runner Donald Trump spoke at an auto-workers rally in Michigan.

Moderators pressed the candidates on the ongoing strike by auto workers at General Motors, Ford and Stellantis. Asked if he would fire thousands of striking autoworkers as former President Ronald Reagan did with air traffic controllers in 1981, South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott attacked the Union Auto Workers for making overreaching demands.

“Obviously, the president of the United States cannot fire anybody in the private sector,” Scott said. “One of the challenges that we have in the current negotiations is that they want not only four-day French work weeks, but more money. They want more benefits, working fewer hours. That is simply not going to stand.”

The debate also focused on the potential government shutdown should Congress not reach a spending deal by the end of this week.

“Voters should blame everybody who’s in Washington, DC,” former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said. “They get sent down there to do the job, and they’ve been failing at doing the job for a very long time.”

“The people in Washington are shutting down the American dream with their reckless behavior,” Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis added. “They borrowed, they printed, they spent, and now you’re paying more for everything. They are the reason for that. They have shut down our national sovereignty by allowing our border to be wide open.”

Trump’s decision not to attend the debate left an opening for participating candidates to criticize his economic record and handling of the border.