On Wednesday night, the fourth — but reportedly not the final — Republican primary debate aired live from Tuscaloosa, Alabama, giving four presidential candidates another chance to make their case before the Iowa Caucuses next month.

Current frontrunner and former President Donald Trump once again declined to engage with his distant competitors, leaving Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, businessman Vivek Ramaswamy, and former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie to fight it out onstage.

With just over one month until the critical caucuses begin to narrow the field, the candidates held nothing back, making for one of the most contentious faceoffs in the election cycle so far.

Here’s a short breakdown of some of the night’s standout moments and savage smackdowns.

Related: Learn More About the Primary Debates in Milwaukee, Simi Valley, and Miami

Vivek Ramaswamy vs … Everyone

While certainly no stranger to attacking his fellow candidates, Ramaswamy was in rare form during the fourth debate. At various points throughout the event, DeSantis, Haley, and Christie were all hit by the biotech entrepreneur’s scathing criticism — some more severely than others.

In one standout moment, Ramaswamy criticized all three of his opponents at once for challenging Donald Trump in 2024 despite “licking his boots for years” to secure money and endorsements. DeSantis, who secured a Trump nomination for his 2018 gubernatorial run but notably not for his 2022 reelection, bore the brunt of this attack.

“Ron DeSantis, you’ve been a great governor, but you would’ve never been one without actually begging Donald Trump for that endorsement,” Ramaswamy said.

Chris Christie initiated another heated moment when he (somewhat oddly) leaped to Nikki Haley’s defense in a debate about foreign policy.

“You do this at every debate. You go out on the stump and you say something, all of us see it on video, we confront you on the debate stage, you say you didn’t say it, and then you back away,” the former New Jersey governor stated. “This is the fourth debate that you would be voted in the first 20 minutes as the most obnoxious blowhard in America! So shut up for a little while!”

Christie went on to praise Haley’s intelligence and professional qualities despite their policy disagreements.

“Chris, your version of ‘foreign policy experience’ was closing a bridge from New jersey to New York,” Ramaswamy fired back. “So do everybody a favor: just walk yourself off the stage, enjoy a nice meal, and get the hell out of this race.”

But despite the intensity of these exchanges, Nikki Haley once again received the majority of Ramaswamy’s attacks. In a moment that pundits are calling “the end of Haley’s career,” Ramaswamy went after her stance on the Russia-Ukraine war, where she remains one of the most hawkish candidates.

“One thing that Joe Biden and Nikki Haley have in common is that neither of them could even state for you three provinces in Eastern Ukraine that they want to send our troops to fight for,” he said, gesturing to the former UN ambassador as she stood in silence. “So reject this myth that they’ve been selling you that somebody had a cup of coffee stint at the U.N. and then makes 8 million bucks after, has real foreign policy experience.”

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Ron DeSantis Defends Parental Rights, Condemns Gender Transitions

During two separate exchanges, Governor DeSantis went after his fellow candidates for their comparatively soft stances on transgenderism and the rights of parents and children.

While defending his record on gender policies in New Jersey’s public schools, Chris Christie claimed to have “stood up every single time for parents to be able to make the decisions for their minor children.”

“You know what, every once in a while, parents are going to make decisions that we disagree with,” he continued. “But the minute you start to take those rights away from parents, you don’t know that slippery slope, what rights are going to be taken away next.”

“You do not have, as a parent, you do not have the right to abuse your kids,” DeSantis interjected to resounding applause. “This is cutting off their genitals, this is mutilating these minors, these are irreversible procedures.”

“I signed legislation in Florida banning the mutilation of minors because it is wrong,” he continued. “We cannot allow this to happen in this country.”

The exchange fed into a confrontation with Haley on the related issue of transgender bathroom policies. Haley, who earlier this week declared that “the law should stay out of” a child’s decision to transition, accused DeSantis of being hypocritical on the bathroom issue. DeSantis, however, cited the policies he passed in Florida, comparing them to the ones Haley vetoed in South Carolina.

“I signed it, you killed it,” DeSantis said.

DeSantis also attacked the concepts of Centrally Banked Digital Currencies and Environmental, Social, and Governance policies, promising to eliminate both if elected.

Chris Christie on Donald Trump and Deploying American Troops

Christie, a longtime critic of Donald Trump, was the only debate participant to call out the former president directly. Accusing his fellow candidates of being too afraid to attack “Voldemort: He Who Must Not Be Named,” the former governor bragged that he is the only one willing to tell the truth about Trump’s dominant poll performance.

However, Christie’s willingness to acknowledge this did not mean he was happy about Trump’s lead. Christie called Trump “a dictator and a bully” who is “unfit to be president.”

He also predicted that the former president will find himself convicted of multiple felonies before election day, rendering him ineligible.

Christie went on to pledge to send American troops to rescue citizens held hostage by groups like Hamas, accusing his opponents of avoiding similar questions in the past.

Nikki Haley Tackles Antisemitism and Challenges DeSantis

Despite being the most frequent target of attacks from DeSantis and Ramaswamy, Haley’s poll performance — which shows her closing in on DeSantis in several swing states — proved to be her strongest point.

As debate moderator Megyn Kelly pointed out, DeSantis was once seen as “the candidate most likely to consolidate the non-Trump field,” and yet he has not been successful. At the same time, Haley has narrowed the gap between them.

Later in the debate, Haley also addressed the issue of antisemitism on college campuses, citing statements made by university presidents to Congress.

“How do you think these schools and the rest of society should balance the imperative of free speech against the need to prevent radical activists from harassing and intimidating others?” asked moderator Eliana Johnson.

“It was disgusting to see what happened,” Haley replied. “You know, if this had been the KKK that was doing protests on those campuses, every one of those college presidents would have been up in arms. This is just as bad. The idea that they would go and allow that kind of pro Hamas protest, or agree with the genocide of Jews, and try and say that they needed context on that — there is no context to that.”

She went on to call for “Arab and Chinese money” to be kept out of American schools, denounced anti-Zionism as antisemitism, and claimed that “for every 30 minutes that someone watches TikTok, they become 30 percent more antisemitic.”

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