Live-Blog: Donald Trump Remains Atop Republican Party in 11th GOP Debate
8:13 A lot of people don’t like Donald Trump, and he is still leading. Big. Trump may not be good for America, but he is good for entertainment. Ask Fox, CBS, ABC and just about any mainstream media outlet. After Thursday night’s debate, don’t expect much change. Trump did nothing to diminish his support. Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, John Kasich didn’t do anything to change that. The bizarro campaign continues.
8:00 The debate is over. Time to see how the other half lives. Bill O’Reilly interviews Trump. Tough but fair is how Trump summed up the debate. O’Reilly asks Trump about Mitt Romney’s statement that Trump is a danger for America’s future. Trump says he is a unifier and Romney a phony.
Trump needs 30 million votes to beat Hillary Clinton, by Fox’s calculations. So it must be true.
It’s called politics. Trump builds companies. Builds jobs. He’s a builder.
Trump thinks O’Reilly has become negative. Why?
Trump to O’Reilly: You’ll have to ask his psychiatrist. You get carried away with yourself.
You can’t make this stuff up.
Now that’s entertainment.
7:59 Closing thoughts: Kasich: Leave no one behind. I will fix the problems in Washington. Together, we will restore the spirit of America.
Rubio: Unusual election cycle. Embrace opportunities. If we get this election right, we can make the 21st century the greatest century in the history of the universe.
Cruz: Let’s talk to the military. Let’s talk to the police officers. I will have your back.
Trump: I am going to bring jobs back to the United States. Fix military. Take care of vets and borders. We will make America proud again.
7:57 Anyone-but-Trump movement is gaining steam. Trump says he will support the Republican nominee, even if it isn’t him.
7:56 Last question of the night: Will each of you support the Republican nominee, even if that nominee is Trump? Rubio says yes. Cruz says yes. Kasich says yes, with a caveat—he will be the nominee.
7:51 Conversation volume on Facebook about the four candidates: Trump is at 60 percent. Cruz, 18 percent. Rubio, 11 percent. Ben Carson, 7 percent. Kasich, 4 percent.
7:50 Arm the Ukrainians. Kasich’s solution to Russia. He takes a trip around the world. He is cerebral. He has substantive policy stances. He has a chance to shine. And nobody cares.
7:49 Putin called Trump bright and talented. Kasich made a campaign video: Make tyranny great again. Comedians are the new truth-tellers.
7:48 Missile defense. Cruz is devoted to keeping America safe.
7:47 We are the world. Can’t we all get along? The Donald makes some sense. Even a blind squirrel finds a nut once in a while.
7:46 Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. Trump’s response to Rubio’s claims that Trump doesn’t know anything about foreign policy.
7:45 Trump’s foreign policy: They’ll do what I tell them. We’re going to build up our military, get them the equipment they need. How do we know this? Trump is a leader. He said so. He also said Rubio is not a leader.
7:43 Negotiating a hotel deal in a foreign country is not foreign policy.
7:39 Breathe. Breathe. The candidates are ready to practice yoga. Cruz is leading the exercises.
7:38 “Donald Trump has a tenuous relationship with the truth.”—Ted Cruz. The line draws a laugh from the crowd.
7:36 Trump loves the Second Amendment.
7:34 Grab your musket. Second Amendment is on the docket, and it’s not a suggestion, says Rubio. His logic: Gun laws don’t kill people—criminals do.
7:30 Humility. Love enemy. Care for neighbor. Kasich is in favor of traditional marriage—man and a woman. He calls for tolerance and common sense.
7:27 Cruz pulls out his revisionist history book and blames left-wing Democrats for the decline of Detroit. The question was: What would you do to bring manufacturing jobs back to Detroit? Cruz wants to pull back the regulators and repeal Obamacare. Get rid of all the taxes. Replace with 16 percent flat tax. All exports are tax free. All imports pay the 16 percent tax. Create a level playing field. That is Cruz’s plan. Who’s buying?
7:26 There used to be 300,000 manufacturing jobs in Detroit. Now there are 30,000. How do we bring manufacturing jobs back to America?
7:25 Education is up. Kasich believes fixing schools should be done at the state and local level. He wants to put politics aside and help children rise.
7:24 The Flint water catastrophe is the topic. Rubio says it was an accident.
7:22 Where’s the beef? Last time Megyn Kelly moderated a debate, Trump skipped the festivities. This time, they are being civilized.
7:15 All talk, no action. Trump hits back at Cruz by referencing a CNN poll. The poll isn’t good news for Cruz, who points out that it isn’t good news for Trump. The poll has Hillary Clinton winning. None of the Republican candidates likes the sound of that.
7:14 Count to 10. Cruz tells Trump to go stand in the corner. Trump isn’t ready yet.
7:12 The Big Con. Rubio and Trump take turns saying who is the bigger con artist. You are. No, you are.
7:11 The course costs $15,000. One-third of the plaintiffs demanded refunds. Trump gave refunds to people. It’s still pending litigation.
7:09 Kelly sets the record straight. The rating from the Better Business Bureau was a D minus. Now, there is a class-action suit against Trump. Whom do you trust?
7:08 Trump reminds everyone that he doesn’t settle.
7:07 Welcome to Trump University. Rubio sees an opening and seizes the opportunity. Rubio gives Trump University a D. Trump says it’s an A.
7:05 Who understands compromise? Who has a record of achievement? Kasich.
7:02 Fox plays a pre-produced highlights package of Trump contradicting himself on issues in the Middle East. Kelly is enjoying grilling the mogul on why he changes his tune so much. “What is your core?” she asks. Trump answers, “I am flexible.”
6:56 Kasich says polls show people have five times more confidence in him than in his presidential rivals when it comes to foreign-policy ability. For good measure, he adds, “I knew Ronald Reagan.”
6:55 Trump always believed Edward Snowden was a Russian spy.
6:54 Cruz has shifted his stance on Snowden—switching from viewing him as a whistleblower to now a traitor—because he believes the evidence supports that.
6:51 Trump in favor of both waterboarding and going after terrorists’ families.
6:49 Kasich supports a broad coalition on the ground and in the air in Syria and Iraq—and eventually Libya.
6:46 The other candidates are calling on Trump to take his off-the-record conversation with The New York Times public. Earlier in the evening, Trump said he wouldn’t do that because he had too much respect for what “off-the-record” means to reporters—leaving journalists everywhere scratching their heads.
6:40 Trump has changed his mind on H1B visas. Now he’s in favor of them.
6:34 Trump reiterates that he’s building a wall and Mexico is paying for it.
6:32 Trump and Kelly have a cordial exchange. “You’re looking well,” he tells her.
6:31 Trump said he supported Clinton in 2008—and gave her a check—as a business decision.
6:24 Cruz is abolishing the IRS.
6:22 Trump is abolishing Common Core.
6:17 Trump wants to make it clear that he only got $1 million from his dad to start his business.
6:16 Rubio calls on Trump to move all of his clothing manufacturing out of China and, of course, Mexico.
6:15 Asking for a friend? Kasich says people want to know why he never gets any time in the debates.
6:03 As expected, Ben Carson is a no-show, all but admitting that he’s finally called it quits.
5:53 p.m. PST Welcome to the 11th of the 13 Republican debates. Each of the remaining Republican presidential hopefuls will make his case for the party’s nomination. Once again, the field has narrowed, with Ben Carson all but dropping out of the race after falling short on Super Tuesday, leaving Rubio, Cruz, Kasich and, of course, Trump to take the stage at Detroit’s Fox Theater.
If the night goes as expected, viewers can plan on seeing two debates—one between the candidates, and one that pits Rubio, Cruz and (potentially) Kasich against front-runner Trump, who has many in his party’s establishment turning against him.
Earlier in the day, the party’s two previous presidential nominees publicly criticized the billionaire. The Associated Press reported:
In an extraordinary display of Republican chaos, the party’s most recent presidential nominees, Mitt Romney and John McCain, lambasted current front-runner Donald Trump on Thursday, calling him unfit for office and a danger for the nation and the GOP.
“His is not the temperament of a stable, thoughtful leader,” Romney declared. He called Trump “a phony” who is “playing the American public for suckers,” a man whose “imagination must not be married to real power. …”
The GOP’s 2008 nominee, Arizona Sen. McCain, joined in, raising “many concerns about Mr. Trump’s uninformed and indeed dangerous statements on national security issues.”
This comes on the same day that longtime conservative commentator and former Nixon and Ford speechwriter Ben Stein publicly declared that should Trump win, he would seriously consider voting for a Democrat for the first time.
Expect the GOP’s conflicted, even contentious, feelings about Trump to be brought up in Detroit. Also likely to be touched on are American industry, the economy, issues involving complex race relations in the U.S.—tied both to the event’s location and to the Trump campaign’s link to the KKK. That is, of course, if the moderators can keep candidates on topic, something even they believe will be a challenge.
And speaking of moderators, this is Trump’s return to a Fox News debate after skipping the network’s previous one due to a dispute with Kelly.Wait, before you go…
If you're reading this, you probably already know that non-profit, independent journalism is under threat worldwide. Independent news sites are overshadowed by larger heavily funded mainstream media that inundate us with hype and noise that barely scratch the surface. We believe that our readers deserve to know the full story. Truthdig writers bravely dig beneath the headlines to give you thought-provoking, investigative reporting and analysis that tells you what’s really happening and who’s rolling up their sleeves to do something about it.
Like you, we believe a well-informed public that doesn’t have blind faith in the status quo can help change the world. Your contribution of as little as $5 monthly or $35 annually will make you a groundbreaking member and lays the foundation of our work.Support Truthdig