Trump isn't here, but his MAGA faithful are: Donald's supporters descend on the streets outside the Ronald Reagan library - while the former president gives speech in Michigan
- The second Republican primary debate started at 9pm EST Wednesday at the Ronald Reagan library in Simi Valley, California
- Seven candidates took to the stage, but Donald Trump was not one of them: instead he is holding a rally in Detroit in support of striking auto workers
- FOLLOW LIVE - Read our minute-by-minute coverage of the debate here
Seven presidential hopefuls have taken to the stage at the Reagan National Library in Simi Valley, California, for the event hosted by Fox Business.
Instead of challenging his rivals, he ignored them, and held a rally in Detroit in support of striking auto workers where he called Joe Biden a 'wretched old vulture' and a 'rotten politician' trying to 'rape and pillage' American jobs.
A fan of Donald Trump is seen on Wednesday outside the Reagan National Library - despite Trump being 2,000 miles away
Trump's die-hard fans were not put off attending the California event by his absence
Flags flying and banners waving, the Trump supporters showed their faith in the Republican front runner
Donald Trump seaking to supporters in Detroit
QUICK GUIDE FOR SECOND GOP DEBATE
Where: Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California
When: Wednesday 27, 2023 at 9:00-11:00 p.m. ET
Who qualified: Ron DeSantis, Vivek Ramaswamy, Nikki Haley, Tim Scott, Chris Christie, Mike Pence and Doug Burgum
Hosts: Fox Business and Univision
Moderators: Fox News anchor Dana Perino, Fox Business host Stuart Varney and Univision's Ilia Calderon
Where to watch: Fox Business Network, Fox News, Rumble, streaming platform Fox Nation, Univision (in Spanish), its streaming platform ViX and website UnivisionNoticias.com
Where will Trump be: Detroit, Michigan area, meeting with picketing auto union workers and delivering a speech
Michigan voters helped both Trump and Biden win the White House — Trump in 2016 and Biden in 2020 - and union voters played a large part in both elections.
Biden won union voters by 20 points in 2020.
Trump lost those voters overall, but by a much narrower margin, in 2016.
He went on the win the state in 2016 by just over 10,000 votes.
In Simi Valley, meanwhile, all eyes are on the seven Republicans jostling for position behind Trump - the out-and-out front-runner.
To qualify for the second debate, candidates needed at least 3 percent support in two national polls or 3 percent 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, meaning that even Chris Christie, the only one fiercely critical of Trump, must agree to back him if he is the nominee.
Trump has refused to say whether he will support the eventual nominee.
Many of his Republican colleagues have also dodged the question.
A Trump supporter is seen outside the Reagan National Library on Wednesday
Pro-migration groups were also among the crowd outside the debate venue
A Trump supporter is seen with a sign promoting the Constitution, and the 45th president
One woman holds up a sign calling for the imprisonment of California's Democrat governor, Gavin Newsom
A woman in a MAGA cap shows her support for Trump outside the debate venue on Wednesday
Trump supporters salute passersby in Simi Valley, California
Trump supporters are seen clashing with pro-migrant activists
A Trump fan shows her support for the 77-year-old in California
One fan created signs proclaiming that Trump, indicted on 91 criminal counts, was 'innocent' and 'wanted for president 2024'
Some of the former president's fans banged drums and chanted as they waved their flags
A man in an embroidered Trump jacket shows his support, next to another fan of Trump's planned border wall
The 77-year-old's fans waved flags and banners, despite him not being anywhere near California
Banners proclaimed that Trump was the last hope 'for America and the world'
Latinas for Trump show off their t-shirts on Wednesday in California, outside the debate venue
Trump's supporters were in high spirits on Wednesday, with their candidate well ahead in the polls
The stage has been set for the debate, which will be held at 9pm ET on Wednesday
Seven candidates met the Republican National Committee's heightened qualifications to participate in the second primary debate. Above is how they will line up on the stage in California on Wednesday night
Christie, a former ally of Trump and governor of New Jersey, is taking on Ron DeSantis, the Florida governor and current distant second to Trump in polls.
DeSantis is closely followed by both political newcomer Vivek Ramaswamy, a biotech billionaire, and Nikki Haley, the former governor of South Carolina and Trump's former UN ambassador.
Mike Pence, Trump's vice president, is on the stage, along with Tim Scott, senator for South Carolina.
The seventh is long-shot candidate Doug Burgum, a former software entrepreneur now in his second term as North Dakota's governor.
Asa Hutchinson, the former governor of Arkansas, failed to meet the debate criteria.