GOP debate highlights: Republican candidates came out swinging on top US issues


Melania Trump, Former President Trump’s wife

Melania Trump served as first lady of the United States from 2017 through 2021.

During her time at the White House, Mrs. Trump created the “Be Best” initiative, which focused on the well-being of America’s children, opioid abuse, and online safety.Since leaving Washington D.C.,

Mrs. Trump has extended the program, and founded “Fostering the Future,” a “Be Best” initiative aimed at granting computer science scholarships to children aging out of the foster care system, and giving them the academic foundation needed to secure technology-based jobs so that they can become independent and contributing members of society.

Mrs. Trump is the mother of Barron Trump, who is 17. 

Casey DeSantis, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ wife

Casey, is the first lady of the state of Florida. 

Mrs. DeSantis spearheaded Hope Florida—a Pathway to Prosperity, Economic Self-Sufficiency and Hope during her time in the governor’s mansion. 

She also launched the “Resiliency Florida Initiative,” which is a partnership with professional sports teams and athletes to help to address the stigma surrounding mental health. As part of the initiative, Mrs. DeSantis works with the Florida Department of Education to encourage a campus culture of kindness and empathy through peer-to-peer mentoring and volunteerism; among other initiatives she has launched as first lady. 

Mrs. DeSantis is a mother of three—Madison, who is 4; Mason, who is 3; and Mamie, who is 18 months old. 

Karen Pence, Former Vice President Mike Pence’s wife

Karen, served as the second lady of the United States from 2017 to 2021. 

As second lady of the United States, Mrs. Pence, an artist, worked to bring attention to art therapy and to the sacrifices made by military service members and their families. In January of 2020, Mrs. Pence accepted the honor of being the Lead Ambassador of PREVENTS, which stands for the President’s Roadmap to Empower Veterans and End a National Tragedy of Suicide.

Mrs. Pence also served as first lady to the state of Indiana from 2013 through 2017. There, she brought awareness to many causes and launched more than 40 initiatives. Karen Pence was a school teacher for more than 25 years, and is also an artist, specializing in watercolors of homes and historical buildings. 

Mrs. Pence is a mother of three adult children—Michael, Charlotte, and Audrey. 

Mary Pat Christie, Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s wife

Mary Pat, served as first lady to the state of New Jersey from 2010 to 2018. 

Mrs. Christie previously was a bond trader on Wall Street. 

As first lady of New Jersey, Mrs. Christie helped the state to recover from Hurricane Sandy. She founded a hurricane-relief nonprofit which raised approximately $40 million. Now, Mrs. Christie works in business in the high yield and distressed debt capital markets industry. 

According to her bio on “Christie Solutions 55,” she currently serves on the boards of Carrier Clinic, a substance abuse rehabilitation facility in Skillman New Jersey; Seton Hall University Board of Regents, Orexo, a specialty pharmaceutical company headquartered in Uppsala Sweden; and Accelerate 360, a media and distribution company.

Mrs. Christie is a mother of four children. 

Michael Haley, Former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley’s husband

Nikki Haley, former ambassador to the United Nations, is married to Michael Haley. 

Mr. Haley is a captain in South Carolina’s National Guard. In 2012, during Gov. Haley’s administration, he was deployed to Afghanistan. 

Mr. Haley, in June, began a year-long deployment with the 218th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade in the Horn of Africa. 

Mr. Haley is a father of two. 

Dr. Apoorva Ramaswamy, Vivek Ramaswamy’s wife

Dr. Apoorva Ramaswamy works as a surgeon in Ohio. She is a laryngologist specializing in swallowing disorders. 

Mrs. Ramaswamy received her education at Yale University for her undergraduate degree and Yale University School of Medicine for her M.D. She trained at New York Presbyterian Hospital as a resident, and currently served as an assistant professor at Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. 

Mrs. Ramaswamy is a mother of two sons. 

Kathryn Burgum, North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum’s wife

Kathryn, serves as the first lady of North Dakota. Mrs. Burgum’s priority as first lady is supporting and developing initiatives to “eliminate the shame and stigma of the chronic disease of addiction” across the state. 

“She is spreading the word that addiction is a chronic disease and not a character flaw,” the state’s website says. 

Mrs. Burgum also plays an active role in supporting the Office of Recovery Reinvented as the chair of the Advisory Council.

Tim Scott’s girlfriend

Sen. Tim Scott has never been married. But on the campaign trail this month, the senator said he is dating a “lovely Christian girl.” He has not shared her name.

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