scorecardresearch Skip to main content
GOP primary debate

Republican candidates attack Trump and spar for second place. Here’s how the debate unfolded.

Highlights from the second Republican presidential debate
Seven candidates took the stage at Ronald Reagan's presidential library in California Wednesday night (Fox News).

Donald Trump‘s rivals laid into him repeatedly during the second presidential debate on Wednesday, ripping the former president for skipping the event as they sought to dent his commanding early lead in the Republican primary.

Seven GOP candidates squared off at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in California. Trump instead went to Michigan, delivering a prime-time speech that continued through the start of the debate.

Here’s a look at how the two-hour event unfolded.

Read more:


September 27, 2023


When is the third Republican debate? — 11:30 p.m.

By Tal Kopan, Globe Staff

It’s only see you later, not goodbye, at least for some of tonight’s candidates.

The next debate will be Nov. 8 in Miami. The qualifying criteria will be tighter, which could cut some of the lower-polling candidates. Moderators are not yet announced.

Republican presidential candidates participated in the FOX Business Republican Primary Debate at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library.Mario Tama/Getty

Trump campaign weighs in — 11:24 p.m.

By Jim Puzzanghera, Globe Staff

Trump campaign senior advisor Chris LaCivita declared the debate, which Trump skipped, “was as boring and inconsequential as the first debate” and did nothing to change the dynamics of the race.

”President Trump has a 40- or 50-point lead in the primary election and a 10-point lead over Joe Biden in the general election, and it’s clear that President Trump alone can defeat Biden,” LaCivita said in a written statement.

He called for the Republican National Committee to halt the primary debates and focus on Biden – presumably with Trump as the de facto nominee.

Who would YOU vote off the island? — 11:16 p.m.

By Jim Puzzanghera, Globe Staff

The debate hosts struck out in their attempt to wrap up the debate by asking the seven candidates to write down which of them should be “voted off the island” of the Republican presidential race, riffing off the Survivor reality TV show.

There was an awkward pause as they were given 15 second to write their answer with a marker on a notepad at their lectern. Then DeSantis quickly spoke up.

”I’ll decline to do that. With all due respect, I mean we’re here. We’re happy to do debate but I think that that’s disrespectful to my fellow competitors,” he said as the other candidates agreed and the crowd applauded. “Let’s talk about the future of the country.”

Moderator Dana Perino then asked DeSantis what his “mathematical path” to beating Trump, who has a commanding lead in the polls. DeSantis responded that “Polls don’t elect presidents, voters elect presidents.”

Moderator Stuart Varney turned to Christie, saying he thought he saw him write a name down. Christie said he didn’t but offered his choice for who should be voted off the island: Trump.

”Every person on this stage has shown the respect for Republican voters to come here, to express their views honestly, candidly and directly and to take to you questions,” he said. Then he blasted Trump.

”This guy has not only divided our party, he’s divided families all over this country, he’s divided friends all over this country,” Christie said. “He needs to be voted off the island, and he needs to be taken out of this process.”

North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum, left, and former Governor from South Carolina and UN ambassador Nikki Haley, right, looked on as former governor of New Jersey Chris Christie spoke during the second Republican presidential primary debate.ROBYN BECK/AFP via Getty Images

Who won the debate? Donald Trump. — 11:11 p.m.

By Tal Kopan, Globe Staff

Going into the debate, Trump was way ahead of all the candidates, by some measures, even if you combine all of their polling. Although the candidates took a few potshots at him, they spent most of their time attacking each other and not making a strong case why a voter should turn away from Trump and toward them. He walks away from the debate without likely any dents in his considerable primary lead.

Government shutdown is looming. Did the second debate matter?
WATCH: The government is expected to shut down. What does that mean for the candidates vying for the GOP nomination? Political reporter James Pindell weighs in.

Some initial debate takeaways — 11:06 p.m.

By Globe Staff

Tal Kopan: The candidates unleashed on each other, but aside from a few attacks on Trump for not being present, they largely let him off the hook. They continue to fight for second place.

Lissandra Villa de Petrzelka: Tough to think of this debate format — in particular given how often it turned into talking over one another — as an effective pathway to the presidency for any of these candidates. At most we’ll get a couple of memes with a 72-hour shelf life.

Victoria McGrane: LOUD NOISES signifying ... no one making a dent in Trump’s current polling lead.

Jim Puzzanghera: Candidates turned up the heat a bit more on Trump, mostly bashing him for not showing up to defend his record. But none of them appeared to light a fire under their own effort to dethrone him as the frontrunner in the Republican race.

The second GOP debate concludes — 11:00 p.m.

By Amanda Kaufman, Globe Staff

The second Republican presidential debate came to an abrupt end, bringing to a close two hours of chaotic back-and-forths over foreign policy, education, and the economy and attacks on Biden and Trump.

Soon, the candidates will join Fox News hosts for post-debate interviews.

DeSantis answers abortion question with hit on Trump — 10:57 p.m.

By Lissandra Villa de Petrzelka, Globe Staff

Trump paved the way for the Supreme Court to overturn the federal right to an abortion by appointing the justices to it to do it, but he’s tried to straddle that reality with a softer stance on abortion that could help better position him in a general election, including by calling an abortion ban at six weeks of pregnancy (which DeSantis signed in Florida) a “terrible thing” in a recent interview.

The blowback put Trump on the defensive.

On stage, the criticism from the right over his attempt to distance himself from anti-abortion proposals continued.

“I reject this idea that pro lifers are to blame for midterm defeats,” DeSantis said in reference to Trump. “He should be here explaining his comments to try to say that pro-life protections are somehow a terrible thing. I want him to look into the eyes and tell people who’ve been fighting this fight for a long time.”

Ramaswamy and Haley tangle again, this time over TikTok— 10:50 p.m.

By Jim Puzzanghera, Globe Staff

Just as they did during the first debate, Ramaswamy and Haley got into a heated argument – this time over TikTok.

Ramaswamy defended his recent decision to join the Chinese-owned video app, which some in both parties warn is a mechanism for spying by the communist nation. He said Republicans need to do a better job of appealing to young voters.

Former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley and the entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy sparred over social media use as Florida Governor Ron DeSantis listened during the second Republican presidential debate at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, Calif.TODD HEISLER/NYT

”We need to win elections and part of how we win elections is reaching the next generation of young Americans where they are,” Ramaswamy said. “We’re only going to ever get to declaring independence with China, which I favor, if we actually win.”

Haley declared Ramswamy’s answer “infuriating.”

”Honestly, every time I hear you I feel a little bit dumber for what you say,” she told him.

Haley said the Chinese could get access to the contacts, financial information, and emails of TikTok users and blasted Ramswamy for his business dealings with Chinese companies.

”We can’t trust you,” she told Ramaswamy.

He responded by citing Reagan’s 11th commandment: “Thou shalt not speak ill of another Republican.”

”I think we would be better served as a Republican Party if we’re not sitting here hurling personal insults and actually have a legitimate debate about policy.”

Candidates focus on China, whether asked or not — 10:46 p.m.

By Lissandra Villa de Petrzelka, Globe Staff

When Haley was asked what she meant by sending special operations to take on cartels in Mexico, she spent about 24 seconds on the subject before pivoting to her preferred target: China.

Candidate after candidate brought up the threat of China, including in technology and business. Several also attempted to tie Ramaswamy to business there.”We need a totally new approach to China,” said DeSantis.

“We’re going to have real hard power in the Indo-Pacific like Reagan to deter their ambitions. We’re going to have economic independence from China where we’re decoupling our economy. And we are going to go after the cultural power they have in this country.”

The things left unsaid (so far) — 10:37 p.m.

By Tal Kopan, Globe Staff

There have been some surprising topics left untouched in this debate so far, about 90 minutes in.

Trump’s legal troubles have only come up tangentially, as an aside in a comment from Christie, who has been a frequent critic of Trump. This despite a judge finding Trump and his businesses committed fraud this week in a New York civil trial.

The international entanglements and legal troubles of Biden’s son, Hunter Biden, have only been deployed as an attack line on Ramaswamy by his opponents (for allegedly doing business with the same Chinese partners). This despite the House GOP opening an impeachment inquiry to flog the issue.

And abortion has yet to come up at all.

Haley v. Ramaswamy — 10:26 p.m.

By Victoria McGrane, Globe Staff

Haley and Ramaswamy have been tangling a lot (he’s drawn the ire of many of his competitors), with Haley going so far as to say Ramaswamy was making her “dumber” as she listened to him.

Apparently, she felt differently reading his book.

Pence tries to get edgy — 10:11 p.m.

By Victoria McGrane, Globe Staff

He’s not known for being hip, but Pence appeared to try to show he can be a little edgy.

Following negative comments by Christie on teachers unions, the former vice president offered the observation that “I’ve been sleeping with a teacher for 38 years,” an apparent reference to his wife.

But based on social media reactions the quip did not work how Pence intended.

Your halftime report — 10:00 p.m.

By Globe Staff

Jackie Kucinich: The needle hasn’t moved.

Tal Kopan: There have been more attacks on each other and Trump, but nothing that truly distinguishes one candidate from each other in terms of policy and approaches.

Lissandra Villa de Petrzelka: Halfway through the debate, there’s little to suggest that there’s any sort of breakout star here. And while the GOP field is not at a loss for suggestions that are emblematic of how far the field has moved in the last decade (like the calls for militarizing the border), it’s hard to imagine any of what’s been said as setting a new narrative.

Jim Puzzanghera: The candidates have tried to use questions to deliver criticisms of Biden, in an attempt to show they can take the fight to him in the general election. They’ve been more reluctant to do that with Trump, the person they need to go through to face Biden in the general election.

Nikki Haley spoke as Chris Christie, left, and Ron DeSantis listened during the second Republican presidential debate.TODD HEISLER/NYT

Ramaswamy, other candidates go hard on immigration — 9:53 p.m.

By Lissandra Villa de Petrzelka, Globe Staff

As GOP candidates returned to the issue of immigration again and again, Ramaswamy advocated for ending birthright citizenship for the children of undocumented immigrants.

It was the cherry on top of broad calls expressed by the Republican field for a tough law and order approach to the southern border.

Earlier, Ramaswamy said the US needs to “militarize the Southern border.”

Christie pointed out that Trump, who ushered in an era of unabashed anti-immigrant sentiment, failed to deliver on one of his first campaign promises: to build a wall along the Mexican-American border and have Mexico pay for it.

Scott, who was given the next question after Ramaswamy, didn’t hesitate to move on from the subject to go after the upstart Ramaswamy. He sought to tie Ramaswamy to Hunter Biden, the president’s son who is wrapped up in legal troubles, and to business in China.

The two talked over each other extensively, often unintelligibly, though Ramaswamy was insistent on trying to get an opportunity to undo what Scott had said.

“Let’s have a policy debate,” Ramaswamy could be heard saying as the conversation continued to devolve.

Christie ducks to Trump’s level in nickname game — 9:47 p.m.

By Victoria McGrane and Jim Puzzanghera, Globe Staff

Christie, continuing to distinguish himself as one of the few GOP candidates willing to pummel Trump, continued his attacks on the former president as the debate went on.

“I know you’re watching. You can’t help yourself,” Christie said. Then he accused Trump of avoiding the debate because “you’re afraid of being on this stage and defending your record.”

He even took a page from Trump’s playbook, coining a cringey nick name for the former president.

“You’re ducking these things and let me tell you what’s going to happen. You keep doing that, no one up here’s going to call you Donald Trump anymore,” Christie said. “We’re going to call you Donald Duck.”

Whomp, whomp.

GOP walks tricky line on auto strikes — 9:41 p.m.

By Jim Puzzanghera, Globe Staff

Republican candidates tried to thread the needle between supporting striking auto workers – crucial for a party that has turned more populist in recent years – while not backing the leaders of the United Auto Workers Union – another important task for a party whose leaders remain unfriendly to organized labor.

Ramaswamy and Pence tried to do that by slamming “union bosses” then quickly pivoting, as did other candidates, to blasting Biden.

”I don’t have a lot of patience for the union bosses…I do have a lot of sympathy for the workers however. They are going through real hardship in this country,” Ramaswamy said. “If I was giving advice to those workers, I would say go picket in front of the White House in Washington, D.C. That’s really where the protests need to be.”

Pence said he stood for the “right to work” – a policy that makes it harder for workers to unionize. He complained that wages are not keeping up with inflation; in fact, in recent months wage gains have been larger than inflation. Pence also blamed Biden’s policies for the struggles of American workers.

”Joe Biden’s Green New Deal agenda is good for Beijing and bad for Detroit,” Pence said. On that point, he echoed Trump, who was visiting auto workers at a non-union shop in Detroit Wednesday night a day after Biden became the first president to walk a union picket line when he joined UAW workers.

Pence said Biden’s electric vehicle push would benefit China, which is the leading producer of batteries and the rare earth minerals they need. But Biden’s polices are designed to encourage US production of electric vehicle batteries.

Haley asserted that UAW workers, who are trying to make up for wage freezes and other concessions they gave during the Great Recession, were striking because of inflation caused by Biden’s policies.

”Let’s focus on what it takes to get more cash in the pockets of workers,” she said. “That’s when we’ll be able to deal with strikes like this, not sitting on a picket line like Joe Biden.”

With his rivals debating, Trump railed against electric cars in Michigan — 9:38 p.m.

By the Associated Press

As his Republican rivals prepared to gather onstage in California for their second primary debate, Donald Trump was in battleground Michigan Wednesday night working to win over blue-collar voters by lambasting President Joe Biden and his push for electric cars in the midst of an autoworkers’ strike.

“A vote for President Trump means the future of the automobile will be made in America,” Trump said at Drake Enterprises, a non-unionized auto parts supplier in Clinton Township, about a half-hour outside Detroit.

Read more.

The debate stage gets chaotic — 9:31 p.m.

By Victoria McGrane, Globe Staff

It’s been more than a bit chaotic on the GOP debate stage tonight, with candidates speaking out of turn and talking over one another.

It led to a funny moment when Ramaswamy accidentally said, with some snark, “Thank you for speaking while I’m interrupting” before correcting himself to say he meant to chastise a fellow candidate for interrupting him.

DeSantis and Christie hit Trump — and dodge shutdown question — 9:20 p.m.

By Tal Kopan, Globe Staff

In an early applause line with the audience, both DeSantis and Christie attacked Trump for his absence from the stage as they dodged questions about whether Republicans would be to blame for a government shutdown. Both candidates said all of Washington deserves blame for a shutdown because of runaway spending, before turning on the former president.

DeSantis declared Trump (and Biden) “missing in action” and Christie said Trump “hides behind the walls of his golf clubs,” both saying he should be on stage answering the questions being asked as they are.

It is more aggressive than DeSantis has been of Trump to date, though Christie has consistently been critical of the former president.

Burgum is really trying to get noticed — 9:14 p.m.

By Victoria McGrane, Globe Staff

He’s barely registering in the polls, but Burgum is doing his darndest to get noticed on the stage tonight.

Twice he has interrupted moderators to jump in an answer a question not directed at himself, first on striking auto workers and second on child care costs. While he got a solid answer out on the first one, moderator Dana Perino was not having it the second time around.

”We will get you some questions, but we’ve got to move on,” she told him.

North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum spoke during the second Republican presidential primary debate.ROBYN BECK/AFP via Getty Images

The debate is underway, with a question on the UAW strike — 9:05 p.m.

By Amanda Kaufman, Globe Staff

The second Republican presidential debate is underway, and the first question was directed at Scott and his remarks earlier this month on the United Auto Workers strike.

Scott’s comments agreeing with Reagan’s decision to fire striking air traffic controllers in 1981 drew condemnation from workers and a labor complaint from the United Auto Workers union.

”Ronald Reagan gave us a great example when federal employees decided they were going to strike,” Scott said in Iowa. “He said, ‘You strike, you’re fired.’ Simple concept to me.”

Scott was asked if he would fire thousands of striking auto workers, and he responded that “obviously the president of the United States cannot fire anybody in the private sector.”

He went on to say auto workers wanting “more benefits working fewer hours” is “simply not going to stand.”

Entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy and former vice president Mike Pence looked on as South Carolina Senator Tim Scott spoke during the second Republican presidential primary debate.ROBYN BECK/AFP via Getty Images

The candidates take the stage — 8:55 p.m.

By Amanda Kaufman, Globe Staff

The seven Republican candidates are taking the stage, and they’re lining up based on their performance in polls that meet the RNC’s standards.

DeSantis is in the center, and on his sides are Ramaswamy and Haley. Pence is at one of the far ends.

Will there be any debate bounce? — 8:53 p.m.

By Tal Kopan, Globe Staff

For all the excitement and analysis of the first debate, we’ve had enough polling since then to see that not much changed in the standings. Ramaswamy and DeSantis seemed to lose ground slightly, while Nikki Haley picked up some. But Trump remains dominant, and the second place fight is relatively static. Candidates may need more than a “debate moment” to shake up this primary.

DNC flies a banner over the debate site — 8:40 p.m.

By the Associated Press

As Republicans take the stage, the Democratic National Committee is running counterprogramming around the debate site aiming to make its case that the GOP hopefuls are wrong for the White House.

DNC officials say they’re flying an aerial banner until the 9 p.m. start time above Ronald Reagan’s presidential library with the message “GOP 2024: A Race For The Extreme MAGA Base” — referring to a slogan used by Trump in his campaigns.

A banner plane flies over the Reagan library.Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for DNC
A billboard truck outside the Reagan library. Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for DNC

Party officials say there’s also a mobile billboard making a route around the debate site throughout the event. A video playing on a digital screen features a “2024 MAGA Cheat Sheet” on each of the hopefuls, with each Republican candidate’s photo and several bullet points on what the DNC calls their “extreme MAGA agendas,” like opposition to abortion and proposed changes to Social Security and Medicare.

Biden draws a contrast during debate — 8:15 p.m.

By Tal Kopan, Globe Staff

As Republicans battle it out with each other (and Trump, in absentia) on the stage tonight, President Biden is in the San Francisco Bay area already raising money for the general election. He’s using the opportunity to draw a contrast, lambasting House Republicans for taking the country to the brink of a government shutdown.

“The fact is that I think that the speaker is making a choice between the speakership and American interest,” Biden said, according to pool reports.

What our reporters are watching tonight — 7:58 p.m.

By Globe Staff

Lissandra Villa de Petrzelka: I’m looking for who tries to mix things up from their past strategy. For some of these candidates, the window to break out is quickly closing, so I’ll be curious to see who bails on their own previously charted course — perhaps out of desperation — and whether it appears to work.

Jim Puzzanghera: I’m looking for how aggressively the candidates take on Trump, far and away the front runner in the polls. You could argue the first debate was for introducing themselves to a broader audience. But now that that’s over with, the Republican candidates need to explain why they’re the best person to take on President Biden. Making that argument has to involve drawing sharp distinctions with Trump.

Tal Kopan: Since my colleagues are watching for what I’m watching — how anyone on stage does something besides fight for second place — I’ll add it’ll be interesting to see how the candidates stake a position on the seemingly imminent government shutdown. Some (Ramaswamy, DeSantis) likely will praise House conservatives that are stoking the fires, while others are likely to criticize them (Christie, Burgum, Scott, Haley).

Jackie Kucinich: The UAW strike has split the field in some really interesting ways — as James Pindell recently pointed out — but not every candidate has weighed in. I’m curious how this is handled, particularly as Trump is spending the evening with workers in Michigan at a shop that is not affiliated with the union.

Tonight’s debate is just a contest for second place | Analysis — 7:30 p.m.

By James Pindell, Globe Staff

The seven candidates who qualified for tonight’s debate may simply offer tired variations on what we’ve heard before.

Which leads to the lingering question surrounding this debate: What exactly is the point?

Increasingly, there isn’t a even Republican presidential contest. Frontrunner Donald Trump has a 43-point lead nationally over the rest of the field, a lead that’s growing. And once again, he’s skipping the whole thing. Advertising rates for the debate have reportedly fallen significantly because viewership is expected to be down.

So we’re left with a contest for second place — which appears to be growing ever more distant from first.

Read the full analysis.

DeSantis will stand in the center. Mike Pence takes the far end. — 7:17 p.m.

By the Associated Press

DeSantis will be center stage again when candidates meet Wednesday for the second Republican presidential debate. He’ll be flanked by Ramaswamy and Haley.

The candidate placement on stage is based on candidate order in polls that meet standards set by the Republican National Committee, with higher performing candidates being closer to center stage.

Scott had hoped for a better position than the last debate and asked the RNC to change its rules so he would be closer to center. But the South Carolina senator is essentially in the same spot he was for last month’s debate. He will stand to Ramaswamy’s left.

The biggest loser in the reshuffling is Pence, who will stand at the far end of the stage. It’s a demotion for the former vice president, who stood next to DeSantis in August, and a sign of how he has struggled in the race.

The debate will take place at Reagan’s library — 7:09 p.m.

By the Associated Press

When seven presidential hopefuls gather at Ronald Reagan’s presidential library for the second Republican debate, expect to hear homages to the “Great Communicator.”

Attendees arrived ahead of the second Republican presidential primary debate at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, Calif.ROBYN BECK/AFP via Getty Images

The 40th president remains a hugely popular influence in today’s Republican Party, and the candidates for the 2024 nomination frequently reference him in their speeches.

Former Vice President Mike Pence most often cites Reagan, noting his own pride in advising the Trump administration’s Supreme Court nominees “that sent Roe. v. Wade to the ash heap of history where it belongs.”

Biden is fundraising while GOP candidates debate — 6:54 p.m.

By the Associated Press

While Republicans prepare for tonight’s debate, the Democratic president that they’re hoping to replace will be raising money for his reelection campaign on the West Coast.

Joe Biden has a pair of fundraisers in San Francisco on Wednesday, a day after holding another one in Atherton.

“I’m optimistic that people in America know what’s at stake and they’re going to step up,” he told donors on Tuesday. Biden also said “I’m looking forward to the race.”

Biden’s visit to California is the second stop on his trip. He first visited Michigan, where he joined striking auto workers on the picket line, and he plans to head to Arizona, where he’s scheduled to give a speech on democracy.

A look at the scene outside the debate before it begins — 6:43 p.m.

By the Associated Press

Hours before the debate began, the first group of supporters for any campaign to arrive waved Trump flags and put up a banner reading “Trump, our last hope for America and the world,” underscoring the former president’s continued influence at a debate he’s not even attending. Trump also skipped the first debate last month in Milwaukee, where the participants laid into one another while mostly avoiding attacks on Trump. Nearly 13 million people tuned in anyway.

Trump supporters gathered near the entrance to the Ronald Reagan Library in Simi Valley, Calif., ahead of the second GOP debate.FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images
Trump supporters gathered near the entrance to the Ronald Reagan Library in Simi Valley, Calif.FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images

Five things to watch — 6:30 p.m.

By the Associated Press

A growing sense of urgency hangs over Wednesday’s Republican presidential debate as seven candidates fight for momentum on a stage that will not feature the race’s front-runner.

Here are five things to watch tonight.

Donald Trump will be in Michigan — 6:18 p.m.

By the Associated Press

As his Republican rivals gather onstage in California for their second primary debate, former president Donald Trump will be in battleground Michigan on Wednesday night working to win over blue-collar voters in the midst of an autoworkers’ strike.

Trump’s trip comes a day after President Joe Biden became the first sitting president in US history to walk a picket line as he joined United Auto Workers in Detroit. The union is pushing for higher wages, shorter work weeks and assurances from the country’s top automakers that new electric vehicle jobs will be unionized.

Read more.

What the candidates needed to qualify for this debate — 6:10 p.m.

By the Associated Press

Candidates needed at least 3% support in two national polls or 3% 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 of those coming from 20 states or territories. They also had to sign an RNC pledge promising to support the party’s eventual nominee.

Asa Hutchinson didn’t qualify — 6:02 p.m.

By the Associated Press

The former two-term Arkansas governor was the final candidate to meet the RNC’s qualifications for the first debate, posting pleas on Twitter for $1 donations to help secure his slot in Milwaukee, but he didn’t meet the heightened criteria to participate in the second.

Instead of the debate, he’ll be in Michigan on Wednesday, holding a press conference his campaign describes as “calling out Donald Trump’s false promises.”

Who will be on stage for tonight’s debate — 5:45 p.m.

By the Associated Press

The field for the second Republican presidential debate will be smaller than the first.

Seven candidates have qualified for Wednesday night’s debate at Ronald Reagan’s presidential library in California, the Republican National Committee said.

Here’s who made the cut.

The seven GOP candidates who will be participating in the second presidential debate, plus Donald Trump. Wire and Globe Photos