First Republican Debate LIVE updates GOP candidates take the stage

First Republican Debate LIVE updates: GOP candidates take the stage at 9 p.m. – concurrent with Trump’s interview with Tucker Carlson

Eight Republican candidates square off Wednesday night in Milwaukee, Wisconsin for the first GOP debate of the 2024 primary cycle.

However, the candidates are essentially fighting for second place.

Meanwhile, frontrunner Donald Trump is countering with a session with former Fox News host Tucker Carlson, which will air concurrently with the start of the debate at 9:00 p.m. ET.

Fox will moderate the debate at the Fiserv Forum Arena in Milwaukee with moderators Martha MacCallum and Bret Baier.

Participating candidates include Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, Former Vice President Mike Pence, Biotech entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy, Senator Tim Scott (RS.C.), Former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley, Former New Jersey Governor , Chris Christie, and North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum and former Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson.

Three other candidates — Miami Mayor Francis Suarez, businessman Perry Johnson and radio host Larry Elder — claim they qualified to appear on stage but were not included in the RNC cast released Monday night.

Follow live updates of the first Republican presidential debate of 2024 on .

Trump claims his Tucker interview, coinciding with the debate, is GOOD for Republicans

Donald Trump says his counter-program is good for the Republican Party as he prepares for Tucker Carlson’s interview to air five minutes before the 9 p.m. GOP debate begins

The ex-president says the Democrats’ “dream scenario” is a “long and drawn out Republican primary.”

“I refuse to give the left what it wants,” he wrote in a statement less than two hours before the debate.

Trump added, “So tonight, I won’t divide our party, I will UNITE them by speaking with a TRUE ally of America First – Tucker Carlson – about how we will save AMERICA from Crooked Joe and Deep.” who really hates our country.’

Exclusive: Trump’s deputy signals he’s open to other candidates building on ex-president’s track record

Rep. Mike Waltz says he’s open to other candidates taking office to build on former President Donald Trump’s policies.

As a replacement for Trump, the former Green Beret is in Milwaukee cheering on the absent former president. He said foreign policy will be a key factor in the debate and the 2024 election.

“First, I want to hear what they’re going to do about the biggest threat this country has ever faced, which is the Chinese Communist Party,” he told on Wednesday. “I think the bottom line is that the next president could very well be a wartime president.” “God help us if it’s Joe Biden.”

“Obviously, I want President Trump to be there to further expand his policies,” said the Florida congressman. “But if the other candidates say they will be, I want to hear how they’re going to do it economically.”

Team Biden tears up ‘softball’ interview with Trump Carlson that will spread ‘conspiracy theories’

President Joe Biden’s presidential campaign ripped apart Donald Trump’s “softball” interview with Tucker Carlson ahead of Wednesday’s broadcast.

“In his softball ‘interview’ segment tonight, Donald Trump will make it clear once again that he is pursuing the same extreme and deeply unpopular MAGA agenda that the American people have consistently rejected,” said Biden’s campaign spokesman Kevin Munoz.

“Rather than explaining his broken promises to Wisconsin … we’ll likely hear him double down on his most outlandish positions, including his support for wild, debunked conspiracy theories.”

The statement came after Carlson tweeted a “debate night” picture of himself and Trump at the ex-president’s private club in Bedminster, New Jersey.

Munoz also said, “The same extreme and unpopular agenda will be presented later tonight in Milwaukee by Republican MAGA candidates doing their best picture of Donald Trump.” The American people rejected these extreme ideas in 2018, 2020 and 2022 – and that will also be the case in November 2024.”

Tucker Carlson@TuckerCarlsonDonald Trump.  Tucker Carlson. Debate night in Bedminster

Tucker Carlson released a highlight video of his upcoming interview with Donald Trump, intended to serve as a counterpoint to Wednesday night’s first Republican debate.

The debate begins at 9:00 p.m. ET, but Trump’s taped interview begins five minutes earlier at 8:55 p.m

The clip, shared on social media page “X,” shows Carlson opening by asking why Trump decided to skip the debate with eight other Republican candidates.

The former president has repeatedly said it is beneath his dignity to debate these worst-performing candidates.

In the video, Trump tells the former Fox News anchor that her interview on a forum called Tucker on X will likely get “higher ratings” than the debate.

Republican hopeful Vivek Ramaswamy, 38, cheekily told “I’ll think about it” when asked on Tuesday if he plans to rap on the debate stage.

The biotech entrepreneur has surged in the polls, overtaking Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis in several polls. He likely needs a breakthrough at Wednesday night’s GOP debate to keep the momentum going.

And the only talent he’s used to make a statement so far has been his rap skills.

Earlier this month, at the Iowa State Fair, Ramaswamy capped off an early morning event with Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds by performing Eminem’s “Lose Yourself.”

While attending Harvard, the current presidential candidate had a side hustle as a libertarian-minded rap artist, performing under the stage name “Da Vek.”

Gov. Doug Burgum appeared on crutches for a tour of the venue on Wednesday after sustaining an injury playing basketball with his campaign staff.

The hopeful’s plans for 2024 were up in the air after he was admitted to an emergency room in the Milwaukee area on Tuesday.

Burgum, a wealthy former software executive, appeared in the Fiserv forum arena hours before the debate on crutches.

He posted on Twitter, now known as X, a picture in a boot and on crutches at the debate venue with the caption, “I’m in.”

Doug Burgum @DougBurgumI'm in

President Biden says he will watch the first Republican debate

Joe Biden, after Pilates and spinning classes on Wednesday, said he would watch Wednesday night’s Republican primary debate — even though leading candidate Donald Trump opted to skip the event.

The president joked he had no expectations for the first formal convention of Republicans, who would try to defeat him in next year’s election.

“I will try to get as much as possible, yes,” he told reporters on Wednesday.

When asked about his expectations, Biden smiled broadly and laughed, “I don’t have any.”

U.S. President Joe Biden speaks to reporters after attending a Pilates and spin class on August 23, 2023 in South Lake Tahoe, California, United States.  REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

Biden speaks to reporters while holding a blueberry smoothie after Pilates and spinning classes Wednesday in Tahoe, Calif. The President said he will be watching the GOP debate