DeSantis, Pence and Christie take cringeworthy pause when asked about backing Trump at Republican debate

Six out of eight Republican presidential candidates raised their hands to say they would support Donald Trump as the GOP nominee even if he was convicted in one of the multiple criminal trials he faces.

But Florida governor Ron DeSantis was caught on camera awkwardly looking at his rivals before indicating he would also support the former president.

Chris Christie and Asa Hutchinson were the only two candidates to say they would not support the four-times indicted former president.

Mr Christie appeared to raise his hand but told moderator Bret Baier it was a sign of disapproval.

“Here’s the bottom line: Someone has got to stop normalising this conduct. Whether or not you believe the criminal charges are right or wrong, the conduct is beneath the office of president of the United States,” said Mr Christie as he was booed by some members of the audience.

“This is the great thing about this country. Booing is allowed, but it doesn’t change the truth.”

Mr Hutchinson said that he “did not raise my hand because there is an important issue we as a party have to face. Over a year ago, I said that Donald Trump was morally disqualified from being president again.”

Mr Pence raised his arm despite the years of attacks that he has faced from Mr Trump following his boss’s 2020 election defeat to Joe Biden.

“He asked me to put him over the Constitution,” Mr Pence said. “And I chose the Constitution, and I always will.”

Mr Trump, who is leading the field according to polls, decided to skip the debate and instead took part in a pre-recorded video interview with TuckerCarlson on X, the social media platform formally known as Twitter.