Christie and DeSantis promptly attacked Trump for skipping the talk.

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Former Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey used his first reply of the talk to assault the absent former President Donald J. Trump.

Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida quickly adopted.

The 2 candidates went proper at Mr. Trump for skipping a second debate in a row, portray him as cowardly and as skirting the democratic course of.

However Mr. Christie was outfitted with multiple canned assault. After the primary business break, he turned on to the digital camera in the course of a solution to deal with the previous president.

“Donald, I do know you’re watching, you’ll be able to’t assist your self,” Mr. Christie mentioned. “You’re not right here tonight, not due to polls, and never due to your indictments. You’re not right here tonight since you’re afraid of being on the stage and defending your file. You’re ducking this stuff, and let me let you know what’s going to occur. You retain doing that, and nobody up right here goes to name you Donald Trump anymore. We’re going to name you Donald Duck.”

Mr. Christie had issued an identical taunt early within the debate, saying that Mr. Trump “hides behind the partitions of his golf golf equipment.” His quip was rapidly echoed by Mr. DeSantis.

“The place’s Joe Biden?” Mr. DeSantis mentioned. “He’s fully lacking in motion from management. And you understand who else is lacking in motion? Donald Trump is lacking in motion. He must be on this stage tonight. He owes it to you to defend his file, the place they added $7.8 trillion to the debt, that set the stage for the inflation that we have now.”

That Mr. Christie would instantly criticize Mr. Trump is not any shock, as he has made attacking the previous president central to his marketing campaign. He did so once more minutes later, saying Mr. Trump had constructed solely 52 miles of a wall alongside the southern border.

However Mr. DeSantis’s assault was a marked change from his posture within the first debate, reflecting an effort to attract extra stark contrasts with Mr. Trump.