The stage is set.
The Reagan Foundation president and CEO detailed what to expect at the historic site of the second Republican primary debate.
“When President Reagan established this library in 1991, he said he wanted it to be a dynamic, intellectual forum where policymakers would debate the future. That’s exactly what’s going to happen here tonight,” David Trulio told “Fox & Friends” co-host Pete Hegesth on Wednesday.
The Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California, will host the top seven Republican presidential candidates Wednesday night as they debate and discuss top campaign issues. The debate will be televised on FOX Business from 9 to 11 p.m. EST.
The White House contenders, in alphabetical order, are North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum, former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, former ambassador and former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, former Vice President Mike Pence, biotech entrepreneur and political commentator Vivek Ramaswamy, and Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina.
Missing in attendance from Wednesday’s debate is former President Donald Trump, who leads the candidates by a significant margin, according to the latest general election poll.
“We would love any candidate who meets the RNC criteria to be here. Again, President Reagan wanted this to be a place where policymakers debate the future. It’s President Trump’s prerogative to come or not come,” Trulio said. “But we think making your case, what better place to make your case to the American people than right here in the Reagan Library?”
When asked whether President Reagan and his platform could win the election in 2024’s political climate, Trulio expressed that Reagan “would do just great in today’s era.”
“I think it’s important to realize that President Reagan had great ideas, and he communicated those great ideas. That led to him earning the votes and winning 44 states in 1980, which is an amazing statistic. And then four years later, he won with a 49 state landslide. So that combination, including his timeless values, [is] really powerful,” the Reagan Foundation president and CEO said.
Upholding Reagan’s legacy, Trulio hopes to hear the candidates speak on principles like individual liberty, limited government, economic opportunity, peace through strength, and national pride.
“These are key concepts that President Reagan applied extremely successfully. He won the Cold War, generated a huge economic boom, and restored America’s pride in itself,” Trulio said. “Those are similar challenges to the ones we face today.”
“I’ll also be listening to the extent the candidates apply and live by the ‘Eleventh Commandment:’ Thou shalt not speak ill of thy fellow Republican,” he continued. “And also, how are they going to draw contrast with President Biden with an eye towards the election next year?”
In order to participate in the second primary debate, candidates must have gathered a minimum of 50,000 unique donors to their campaign or exploratory committee, including 200 donors in 20 or more states. The candidates must also reach 3% support in two national polls or reach 3% in one national poll and 3% in two polls conducted in Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada or South Carolina, the four states that lead off the Republican presidential nominating calendar.
Fox News’ Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report.