Sunday shows preview: Trump booked in Georgia; 2024 race in full swing after first GOP debate

As the 2024 race kicked into full gear with the first Republican presidential primary debate this week, the crowded GOP contest and former President Trump’s surrender at a Georgia jail will likely dominate the Sunday talk show circuit.

Eight candidates took to the debate stage in Milwaukee on Wednesday night to make their case to Republican voters. However, as moderator Bret Baier acknowledged at one point during the debate, Trump was the “elephant not in the room.”

The former president and GOP frontrunner decided not to attend the debate and instead sat for an interview with former Fox News host Tucker Carlson that was released just minutes before the debate got underway.

The remaining candidates who had met the Republican National Committee’s (RNC) polling and donor requirements sparred among themselves on the debate stage over everything from Ukraine to abortion to the Jan. 6 riot.

Conservative entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy, who is set to make appearances on NBC’s “Meet the Press” and CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday, emerged as a primary target at the debate. 

Several recent polls have showed the political newcomer gaining ground on Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who has been touted as Trump’s biggest competition for the Republican nomination but has struggled to make inroads on the former president’s sizable lead.

Ramaswamy was at the center of some of the night’s most contentious exchanges. Former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, who will join Fox News Channel’s “Sunday Morning Futures” this weekend, slammed Ramaswamy’s lack of foreign policy experience after he suggested that the U.S. should no longer support Ukraine in its war with Russia.

“He wants to hand Ukraine to Russia, he wants to let China eat Taiwan, he wants to go and stop funding Israel. You don’t do that to friends. What you do instead is you have the backs of your friends,” Haley said, later adding, “You have no foreign policy experience, and it shows.”

Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie also took aim at Ramaswamy at one point, saying he’d “had enough already tonight of a guy who sounds like ChatGPT,” while former Vice President Mike Pence argued that “we don’t need to bring in a rookie” in an apparent reference to the 38-year-old entrepreneur.

Christie and Pence are both set to join CBS’ “Face the Nation” on Sunday, while Christie will also make an appearance on ABC’s “This Week.”

Former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, who will join CNN’s “State of the Union” this weekend, was one of several candidates who struggled to secure any significant breakout moments on the debate stage.

However, Hutchinson did stand out as the only candidate to raise his hand when asked if they believe human behavior is behind climate change and was one of only two candidates, alongside Christie, to keep his hand down when asked whether they would support Trump if he were convicted.

The former president is facing a litany of state and federal charges in four separate cases. Most recently, Trump was indicted alongside 18 others by a Fulton County grand jury over his efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 election in Georgia.

He made history as the first U.S. president to have his mugshot taken when he was booked at the Fulton County jail on Thursday evening.

None of Trump’s three prior indictments — including two federal cases over his efforts to remain in power after the 2020 election and his handling of classified materials and a Manhattan case over a 2016 hush money payment — required mugshots.

Alina Habba, who serves as a legal spokesperson for the former president and is set to appear on “Fox News Sunday” this weekend, argued on Friday that Trump’s mugshot was unnecessary but is a “trophy” that “actually became ours.”

“They didn’t need the mugshot,” Habba said in an interview on Newsmax. “It was, I guess to [Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis], probably a trophy. But thank you, because now the trophy actually became ours.”

The Trump campaign has been fundraising off the historic mug shot, calling for donations and selling T-shirts, mugs, koozies and bumper stickers with the image and the phrase “Never surrender.”

Below is the full list of guests scheduled to appear on this week’s Sunday talk shows:

ABC’s “This Week” — Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, a Republican presidential candidate; Cedric Richmond, co-chair of President Joe Biden’s 2024 campaign

NBC’s “Meet the Press” — Vivek Ramaswamy, a Republican presidential candidate; Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.)

CBS’ “Face the Nation” — Former Vice President Mike Pence, a Republican presidential candidate; Christie; Reps. Nancy Mace (R-S.C.) and Ro Khanna (D-Calif.); Fiona Hill, senior fellow at The Brookings Institution and former senior director for European and Russian affairs on the National Security Council

CNN’s “State of the Union” — Ramaswamy; Sanders; Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D); Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.); former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, a Republican presidential candidate

“Fox News Sunday” — Former Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.); Alina Habba, a lawyer for former President Donald Trump

Fox News Channel’s “Sunday Morning Futures” — Former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley, a Republican presidential candidate; Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas); Gary Shapley, special agent for the IRS Criminal Investigation; Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.); former Arizona gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake (R); former Michigan gubernatorial candidate Tudor Dixon (R)

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