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MILWAUKEE — The Republican Party’s first primary debate of presidential hopefuls took place at the Fiserv Forum in downtown Milwaukee, Wis. on Wednesday, Aug. 23, 2023. Eight candidates came to participate in the debate, however, the candidate on most people’s lips was absent: former president Donald Trump.

As watch parties for the debate formed around the state, protesters gathered outside the Forum representing a variety of topics from reproductive rights to the recent political development in Israel. Others showed up in support of freeing the jailed Julian Assange. Still, others came dressed in colonial garb with signs in support of Vivek Ramaswamy, holding signs that told their particular brand of truths such as, “An open border is no border,” and “God is real.”

Milwaukee police were in force outside the Forum as well as human caricatures of both Trump and Dr. Anthony Fauci.

The debate featured North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum, former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, former Vice President Mike Pence, entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy and South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott.

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