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Republicans Blitz Trump At Presidential Debate

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Republicans Blitz Trump At Presidential Debate

Republican U.S. presidential candidate Trump remains standing at the front of the stage as rivals Rubio, Cruz and Kasich head to their podiums at the start of the U.S. Republican presidential candidates debate in Detroit

DETROIT (Reuters) – U.S. Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump came under withering attack from rivals Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz at a debate on Thursday as the party’s establishment sought to unite behind a last-ditch anti-Trump effort.

The Fox News Channel debate became a mud-throwing fracas from the outset with tensions mounting over the New York billionaire’s ascendancy and his drive to be the presumptive nominee should he win nominating contests in Florida and Ohio on March 15.

When the Fox questioners showed Trump changing his mind on a variety of topics from the Iraq war to whether to allow Syrian refugees into the United States, Trump shrugged. “You have to show a degree of flexibility,” he said.

At center stage, Trump, 69, defended himself from criticism earlier in the day from 2012 Republican nominee Mitt Romney and faced further questions about his business record. Trump called Romney a failed candidate.

U.S. senators Rubio, of Florida, and Cruz, of Texas, questioned Trump’s immigration policy and his use of foreign workers at his exclusive Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida.

Cruz, 45, demanded Trump release the audiotape of an off-the-record session he had with New York Times editorial writers on Jan. 5.

Cruz and others have suggested that in the session Trump might have been more flexible on immigration than in public statements insisting he would build a wall between the United States and Mexico and deport 11 million illegal immigrants.

Trump refused to release the tape but said he would be flexible, for instance, on the height of the wall. He also abruptly changed his position on foreign workers, saying more of them who are highly skilled should be allowed to remain in the United States.



Rubio, 44, pressed Trump on the foreign workers he has imported to work at his Palm Beach resort, jobs he said could go to Americans. Trump said the workers were for a short November-to-March season.

“People don’t want a short-term job,” Trump said. “So we bring people in and we send people out.”

Rubio asked Trump why he does not bring his clothing-making operations to the United States from China and Mexico if he is so interested in bringing jobs home, a central tenet of his unconventional campaign.

“This little guy has lied so much about my record,” Trump said in response to Rubio, adding that he had begun bringing some clothing operations home from overseas.

But Rubio persisted: “The answer is he’s not going to do it … The reason he makes it in China and Mexico is because he can make more money on it.”

“Don’t worry about it, little Marco, I will,” Trump said dismissively.

“Well, let’s hear it, big Donald,” Rubio responded.

Fox News moderator Megyn Kelly, who famously clashed with Trump at the first Republican debate last August, generated a fresh exchange in pressing Trump to explain his involvement with Trump University, a now-defunct online education company that has faced lawsuits from people who feel they paid out money for Trump U and got nothing in return.

“Give me a break,” said Trump. “Let’s see what happens in court. This is a civil case. It’s very easy to have been settled.”

Rubio accused Trump of fleecing everyday Americans for personal gain.

“He’s trying to do to the American voter what he did to the people who signed up for this course,” Rubio said.

Trump called Rubio a “con artist” for missing a lot of Senate votes.

The debate went down a negative path early on when Trump responded to Rubio’s contention last month that Trump had “small hands.”

“Look at these hands,” Trump said, flashing his two hands to the crowd. To the suggestion that he might be small elsewhere, Trump said: “I guarantee you there is no problem.”



Cruz suggested Trump would be the wrong candidate to send into battle against Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton because he has supported her financially in the past.

“Actually it was for business,” Trump replied. “Let me tell you something, Ted, the last person that Hillary Clinton wants to face is Donald Trump.”

Trump was joined on stage at the Fox Theatre by his three remaining rivals, Rubio, Cruz and Ohio Governor John Kasich, 63, who again presented himself as rising above the squabbling of his rivals.

It’s a far smaller field than the 17 Republican candidates that began the race for the 2016 presidential nomination, but one that is still splintered between the incendiary New York businessman and three experienced politicians.

The debate was the candidates’ first face-to-face gathering since Super Tuesday nominating contests this week gave extra momentum to Trump but did not knock out his rivals.

Mainstream figures in the party are seeking a strategy to halt Trump’s march to the nomination for the Nov. 8 election to succeed Democratic President Barack Obama.

Some party leaders and donors are critical of Trump’s positions on trade and immigration, including his calls to build a wall between the United States and Mexico, deport 11 million illegal immigrants and temporarily bar Muslims from entering the country.


(Reporting by Steve Holland; Additional reporting by Ginger Gibson and Emily Stephenson; Editing by Howard Goller)

Photo: Republican U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump remains standing at the front of the stage as rivals Marco Rubio (L), Ted Cruz (2nd R) and John Kasich (R) head to their podiums at the start of the U.S. Republican presidential candidates debate in Detroit, Michigan, March 3, 2016. REUTERS/Jim Young



  1. The lucky one March 4, 2016

    The scariest thing about a Trump presidency isn’t the disastrous decisions he would make as bad as that would be. Rather it’s what it says about the intelligence and maturity of a majority of American voters. If it has really sunk that low then there is no hope for this country.

  2. yabbed March 4, 2016

    We wonder how it is that a man like Donald Trump can seriously be a leading contender for the office of the President of the United States of America until we see Cruz and Rubio and then it is very clear indeed.

  3. plc97477 March 4, 2016

    I can’t remember which school but in the 1990s a school did a study and found that dems do not like any mud-slinging in politics whereas repug relish in it. Repugs are more apt to vote for the candidate that slings mud the dems will not vote for anyone who runs a dirty campaign. The push back at trump is probably going to back fire. But have fun boys.

  4. itsfun March 4, 2016

    Not a Trump supporter here, but just look at the record number of voters he has gotten out to vote whether for or against him. That is a good thing. Getting as many citizens out to vote and support any candidate is a good thing for all parties.

  5. pmbalele March 4, 2016

    I think Repubs and TPs are primitive people living in an advanced country. I cannot believe how they are behaving toward Trump. Mitt Romney came with his wives and children to defame Trump calling him all kinds of names; conman, loser, fake etc. How about him? He refused to avail his tax returns; invested in China and Japan and once a bully to classmates and motorists. Then came Karl Rove who is threatened that Trump may crash his empire. Do not forget FoxNews such O’rielly who faked smarter than Trump. Now we are told Bill is wife beater and abuser of his children. Bill had guts to interview after the debate. Now ask TPs and Repubs who they want as GOP nominee. They do have any. Ted Cruz is a foreigner, Marco Rubio is too immature; they have gotten rid of Dr. Carson for being Black; Christ and the governor whose name I cannot say are low quality people to be in WH. Repubs and TPs are hypocrite. They want a tall wall, deport illegals and block foreigners from coming to this country – they got a candidate who vies to do that-Trump. Now they hate him. Here is my suggestion – Let us have only Hillary as sole candidate. That way it will save Repubs and TPs money and hating one another. These are child-like people.

  6. Paul Bass March 4, 2016

    When you look at the debate, interestingly, Trump appears THE most rational of the lot.

    1. iamproteus March 5, 2016

      uh, you do realize that isn’t saying much….right?

  7. 1standlastword March 4, 2016

    It’s just amazing! Trump is like the full fledged chief demon satanic figure that has emerged from the utter darkness that has been the modern republican party since the turn of the century and beyond.

    He has come into flesh to tame his minor minions and his strength is so evident and his corruptness is so identifying with theirs that they can’t defeat him because they can’t defeat themselves.

    All they can do is descend…all together! And the world feel vindicated: I do!

    This is Michelle Bachmann’s end of days for her GOP

  8. dpaano March 4, 2016

    I wonder if Trump is going to accept being the “failed candidate” when he loses the election….should be fun to watch his temper tantrum when that happens!! He’s such a hypocrite…it’s amazing that more people still want to vote for him !!! Just shows how FAUX News has brainwashed the uninformed. Even the evangelicals are brainwashed! But, it’s fun to watch!

  9. nana4gj March 4, 2016

    Does anyone seriously believe that the Republican Party is concerned with the prospect of Trump in the White House? They thought Sarah Palin was fit to sit a heartbeat away from it. Look at the recent ones they had sitting in it.

    This protest and outrage is all pro forma. They really don’t care whom among their candidates makes it into the general election, so long as they win it, and they will use everything they have, all the muck and mire, the gerrymandering of electoral process, to get what they want. If they succeed, they will tell whomever it is what to do, how to do it, and when to do it, the Conservative Way, because they are no longer Republicans, they are Conservatives.

    Image is what is most important to them. Trump has so much vile and bile associated with him, the KKK issue being the last straw, apparently, for them because it too clearly defines what they espouse, that they had to go through the motions of outrage. But, they really do not care.

    But, how much more worse is he than those who shutdown the government in an attempt to take healthcare access away from voters; or those who send letters to foreign leaders sabotaging the foreign policy authority of a freely elected President; or who have tried to delegitimize the first black President in this country with personal attacks, obstruction, sabotage; or who attempt to strip the President of not only his Constitutional authority, but, also, his very personhood.

    I hold Republicans responsible for all of the “anger” in this country. That “anger” that Trump feeds against racial and gender equality and the “uppity” boldness of a competent black President that they use against not only him, but anyone else who is not pure white, Christian, or “native born” because they have incited the same for 7 years; that “anger” that others feel because they have obstructed government and done more harm than good in “DC” and have made little to nothing possible with so much needing to be done.

    Why on earth would any sensible person place any credibility in any of them to place our entire survival in their hands? We should be working at eliminating them every chance we get because none of them are fit to serve anymore.

    They have always been shown to eventually expose themselves of everything they accuse others of, especially this President. They do not want a Democracy in America. They want a Conservative America, and all that it stands for, including racism. They want Conservatism in every branch of government and across the states. That is not what their revered Constitution was intended for.

    The Constitution was intended to be a platform for a representative Democracy for this country. It defined what America should be, neither conservative nor progressive, just American, inclusive, representative, with ALL men created equal. And they did not intend for it to be interpreted literally, using “men” as in mankind, humanity, with inalienable rights because they were All created as human beings, with souls and minds, who could think and choose for themselves, not have someone cram ideology down their throats and be forced to accept it and live with it.

    And, whether or not a legislator believes marriage is between a man or a woman on religious grounds or tradition, or “morality”, the fact is that civil marriage exists and is legal and binding, while religious marriage is, technically, a religious rite that authorizes it and recognizes it within an organized religion, thus, separation of church and state enables civil law to recognize the right of same sex marriage.


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