Former President Donald Trump won the second GOP presidential debate, just as he won the first one, without being on the stage, candidate Larry Elder told Newsmax on Wednesday night.
"He is the 10,000-pound elephant in the room," Elder, who also was not on the debate stage, told Newsmax during its debate coverage. "The polls are showing that he's got a double-digit lead over Joe Biden, and Biden's numbers are horrible in terms of the economy, in terms of the border, in terms of crime, so as far as I'm concerned, Donald Trump, once again, made a prudent decision by not going to the debate."
Trump, the clear front-runner in the race for the GOP nomination, skipped Wednesday night's debate in favor of giving a stump speech in Michigan to blue-collar workers, including striking United Auto Workers union members.
The debate also suffered without Trump because the former president is "box office," said Elder.
"Some governor referred to Bill Clinton as the best stand-up politician he'd ever seen, and he didn't mean that in a negative way," said Elder. "But Donald Trump is the best stand-up politician I've ever seen. He's funny. He's witty. He's clever, and when he governed, the economy was good. The borders were secured."
And, Elder said that if Trump were to call him to ask him to be his running mate, "I won't let the call go to voicemail."
Elder, meanwhile, has filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission concerning the first GOP debate and told Newsmax that he was "shafted" by being excluded.
"The first time I would have done my thing," Elder said. "The American people would have realized I have an agenda, and my numbers would have gone up."
The first debate rules required submitting three polls with numbers of over 1%, and Elder said he did that but at the "last minute," RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel said that one of the polls could not be used because it was affiliated with Trump.
"That poll, Rasmussen, said 'we're not affiliated with Trump,' so I got shafted," said Elder. "It's not a lawsuit; it's a complaint that I filed with the Federal Election Commission."
Elder also questioned the reasoning for California Democrat Gov. Gavin Newsom to be in the "spin room" at the debate.
The governor, minutes before the candidates took the stage at the debate, made an appearance on Univision, where he answered questions about the candidates and criticized their views on immigration, abortion, and the environment, reports The Wall Street Journal.
He said President Joe Biden had asked him to attend the debate and stump for the Biden-Kamala Harris ticket.
"This is the guy who is more of an environmental extremist than Joe Biden," Elder told Newsmax. "He made no criticism whatsoever about anything Biden has done with all the spending more on oil and gas … name the policy that Gavin Newsom is pushing that would turn things around."
Newsom, he added, "is a left-wing loon. If that's the best they can do, we're in really good shape in November 2024."
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Sandy Fitzgerald has more than three decades in journalism and serves as a general assignment writer for Newsmax covering news, media, and politics.
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