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Refusing To Sit On Lead, Trump Gets Bitter In Republican Debate

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Refusing To Sit On Lead, Trump Gets Bitter In Republican Debate

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By Steve Holland

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Donald Trump, his face red with emotion, lashed out at rivals Jeb Bush and Ted Cruz on Saturday at the most acrimonious debate to date between Republican presidential candidates, shouting insults and casting aside a pledge to be more measured.

The New York billionaire went into the CBS debate with a head of steam, having won New Hampshire last Tuesday and holding a big lead in polls in South Carolina a week before Republicans vote on Feb. 20.

Rather than play it safe, Trump responded to every comment leveled his way, interrupted his opponents at will and called them liars repeatedly in an emotional outburst that could raise more questions about whether he has the temperament to serve in the White House.

He made his most blistering attacks against Bush and his brother, former President George W. Bush, who has many admirers in the Republican establishment.

It was hard to declare a winner in the debate amid the constant volley of insults, not all of them from Trump. Cruz and fellow Senator Marco Rubio also took pointed jabs at each other over illegal immigration.

But Trump dominated the debate conservation on Twitter with 40 percent of the mentions, according to data from the micro-blogging platform.

Trump’s combative style has set the tone for much of the campaign but in recent days he had pledged to pursue a more measured, positive approach. At the debate, that strategy lasted only through his comments about Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, who was found dead on Saturday.

Trump was quickly goaded when Bush criticized Trump’s past statements that Russia has a role to play in Syria. Russia, Bush said, is not attacking Islamic State militants but instead helping Syrian President Bashir Assad, who Washington wants to leave power.

Trump blasted Bush’s brother for launching the Iraq war in 2003 over claims, later proven false, that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction.

“A big, fat mistake,” said Trump, noting that the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks had also occurred on Bush’s watch.

“George Bush made a mistake,” Trump thundered. “We all make mistakes. But that one was a beauty… They lied! They said there were weapons of mass destruction. And there were none.”

Many in the crowd booed Trump and the Republican front-runner dismissed them as “lobbyists and special interests” supporting the former Florida governor.

Bush, who has wilted in the past under assault from Trump, stood firm this time. He will campaign with his brother George on Monday in North Charleston, South Carolina.

“I’m sick and tired of him going after my family,” Bush said. “My dad is the greatest man alive in my mind. While Donald Trump was building a reality TV show, my brother was building a security apparatus to keep us safe. And I’m proud of what he did.

“He had the gall to go after my mother,” Bush said, reminding the audience that Trump had criticized his 90-year-old mother, Barbara Bush, wife of former President George H.W. Bush. “My mother is the strongest woman I know.”

“She should be running,” Trump responded.

Bush provoked another outburst from Trump by saying the Republican nominee should be someone “who doesn’t brag, for example, that he has been bankrupt four times.”

“That’s another lie,” Trump said. “I never went bankrupt.”

TRUMP VS. CRUZ

Trump also was drawn into a fight with Cruz over whether the real estate developer is sufficiently conservative. Trump called himself a “common-sense conservative,” which Cruz dismissed.

“If Donald Trump is president he will appoint liberals to the Supreme Court,” Cruz said.

“You are the biggest liar,” Trump said sharply.

As they tried to talk over each other, Cruz chided Trump by saying, “Donald, adults do not interrupt each other.”

Ohio Governor John Kasich, who finished second in the New Hampshire primary last Tuesday and who pushes an optimistic message, called for calm.

“These attacks, some of them are personal. I think we’re fixing to lose the election to (Democratic front-runner) Hillary Clinton,” he said.

Cruz and Rubio renewed their battle over who is the toughest on illegal immigration with Cruz insisting that the Florida senator, as part of a Gang of Eight senators who sought a compromise on legislation in 2013, was for “amnesty” but now is against it for political purposes.

He insisted that Rubio had said in Spanish on Univision that he would not rescind an executive order signed by President Barack Obama in support of the children of illegal immigrants.

Rubio shot back: “I don’t know how he knows what I said on Univision because he doesn’t speaking Spanish.”

As the crowd roared, Rubio said Cruz is “telling lies… He’s lying about all sorts of things and now he makes things up.”

Before the clashes broke out, the Republican candidates urged Obama not to nominate a successor to Scalia, saying it should be up to the next president to decide.

(Reporting By Steve Holland; Editing by Bill Trott and Mary Milliken)

Photo: Republican U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump (L) speaks with Senator Marco Rubio during a commercial break at the Republican U.S. presidential candidates debate sponsored by CBS News and the Republican National Committee in Greenville, South Carolina February 13, 2016. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

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44 Comments

  1. FireBaron February 15, 2016

    When you consider that approximately 65% of the Republican Primary voters in NH voted against Trump, I would prefer to not see him posted as the “Winner”. This guy is an egotistical thug, with all the patience of someone with affluenza being told to wait his turn.

    Reply
    1. Dominick Vila February 15, 2016

      He is a useful thug though. I just wish our Democratic strategists and candidates would go after the GOP the way he is doing. Can you imagine what would have happened if either Hillary or Bernie had said what Donald said about WMDs and 911.

      Reply
      1. RED February 15, 2016

        Yeah, but you know HRC can’t because she’s afraid it will remind everyone of her guilt in supporting the war in Iraq.

        Reply
        1. oldtack February 15, 2016

          Many Republican Congressmen and Senators along with the same on the Democrat side voted for the war becaus – they were carefully fed erroneous false information from the President and Vice-President and chosen staff. There was no WMD – Iraq was not a threat. 19 of the 21 terrorists on the planes were Saudis. Why did we not confron the Saudi Government? Bush oil?

          Reply
          1. pisces63 February 17, 2016

            You missed the most important fact. Osama bin Laden did it and not Saddam and he was NOT in Iraq. Plus, no one called the Saudis to task when our embassy was attached, there and 10 persons died. We won’t look at the other 9 or so with over 80 dead.

            Reply
          2. oldtack February 17, 2016

            What is it with the Sacred Cow we call Saudi Arabia? Oil and our lust for it. Who brought our Oil exploration here at home ot a virtual standstill. Saudi Arabia, by glutting the world market with oil. Saudi Arabia. And what does the United states do – they grovel before the Sacred Cow and fully resist solar power or wind power or nuclear power so oil can be supreme.

            Reply
  2. Dominick Vila February 15, 2016

    Donald Trump may turn out to be the best thing that happened to whomever is the Democratic party nominee, and to Democracy in the USA. I loved the way he trashed the GOP during the last debate, especially the way he ridiculed the claim of WMDs to invade Iraq, and the reminder of who was President when the Twin Towers came down. Add to that his encouragement to reject whomever President Obama nominates to replace Justice Scalia, and we have a winner when it comes to the annihilation of the GOP. This guy is doing more to destroy the GOP than all Democratic party strategists combined, past and present, and the far right loves him for it!

    Reply
    1. itsfun February 15, 2016

      I believe every Republican will oppose anyone Obama wants on the Supreme Court.

      Reply
      1. Paul Bass February 15, 2016

        You are correct.

        However if they do, they LOSE SC votes not only for this year (that pending public union defeat for collecting union dues?, yea, too bad, the unions now win if a 4-4 court, and we KNOW Roberts won’t allow a 4-4, unions win). But also only liberal/moderate votes in SC NEXT year.

        So with a 4-4 split SC, and Kennedy being swing, there are only going to be moderate, not conservative decisions for 2016 AND 2017. Go suck an egg GOP, you lose either way. Ha Ha!

        Reply
        1. itsfun February 15, 2016

          Probably better to maybe lose votes for one or two years instead of definitely losing votes until someone dies or retires.

          Reply
          1. Paul Bass February 15, 2016

            You are in such a echo chamber, you don’t think DEMs are going to raise holy hell if the Senate delays voting?

            DEMs are going to take this and ride it all the way to a presidential victory. The SC matters, and blacks, women, LGBT, Muslims, Immigrants, etc. all KNOW this and will come out to vote!

            Reply
          2. itsfun February 15, 2016

            They can raise all the holy hell they want. Yep the Supreme Court matters, and the Conservatives and many of the people in the groups you mention don’t want to see the 2nd amendment destroyed by a liberal Supreme Court. Nor do they want to see any religious freedoms destroyed by a liberal court. Have you seen how many people are coming out to Conservative town halls, and the debates. Hillary gets 500 people compared to 5000 Trump supporters.

            Reply
          3. Paul Bass February 15, 2016

            Ha ha ha ha ha ha, yea right! And Romney won the 2012 election with all those conservatives!

            Reply
      2. latebloomingrandma February 15, 2016

        Of course. Why would they change their ways now? They have always objected to anything Obama proposed. Because, you know,he’s Obama.

        Reply
        1. itsfun February 15, 2016

          They don’t want another liberal on the Supreme Court. Another thing is what goes around comes around. Remember when the Democrats use the nuclear option rule to pass Obama care? This is just a way to get back at them. Politics are a dirty dirty business and will be just as dirty after the election.

          Reply
    2. RED February 15, 2016

      I kinda love watching him destroy all those lying Cons myself. But I’m also disgusted and appalled by the total moron racist scumbags that follow Trump. So once, Donald has wrecked the party, what happens then? The historical evidence shows that Cons will only become more detached from reality, more ignorant, more full of hate. Already I feel we are approaching a “Constitutional Crisis,” with the Senate refusing to due it’s duty and hold a vote to confirm a new SCOTUS Justice. I’m know we’ve had these crises before but when is it too far? How long is it before our government is deemed a failed State and the consequences have become so great that we reach a tipping point. Tipping points always come sooner than people expect.

      Reply
      1. Dominick Vila February 15, 2016

        Some Republicans are beginning to understand the impact of not confirming President Obama’s nominee (s) to replace Justice Scalia. As a minimum, it changes the ideological balance of power in the SCOTUS in our favor, until a replacement is confirmed. If nobody is confirmed until after the election, it would make it virtually impossible for the SCOTUS to anoint anyone in the eventuality of a sequel to the pregnant chad episode. Last, but not least, it is likely to leave the confirmation in the hands of a Democratic Senate and a President more to the left than President Obama.
        I heard Sen. Lindsey this morning talk about the need to have a nominee that is a consensus builder. Never mind that what we need in the SCOTUS are Constitutional scholars capable of interpreting the letter and spirit of the Constitution, rather than deal makers. The fact is that they are already backpedaling. Typical GOP over reaction.

        Reply
  3. itsfun February 15, 2016

    I would disagree with the Donald about the weapons of mass destruction. The whole world knows Saddam used them against his own people. Also almost every intelligence agency in the free world said there were weapons of mass destruction. Now it is being reported that ISIS is making and using those types of weapons.

    Reply
    1. Paul Bass February 15, 2016

      Have you been underground for the last 15 years?

      There were NO weapons of mass destruction EVER found when WE (you know, the US ARMY!!) invaded Iraq. Proven, by us, not doubt at all. period. Even GOP NOW agrees.

      Wow, you cons have denial down to an art form!

      Reply
      1. Eleanore Whitaker February 15, 2016

        Itsfun has a serious problem accepting what the 9/11 Commission clearly proved…There NEVER were any WMDs in Iraq. And the rods that Nanny Rice claimed were “spent” weren’t…they numbered in less than two.

        Some bigots will blame Obama for Hitler’s rise if they can. These are the good ole good ole Mutton Chops and Corn Pone Kings who are so far behind the times, they think they won the Civil War and this is now a Confederacy going through the Great Depression.

        When the 9/11 Commission (which I watched on TV) asked Rice specifically about the WMDs, she tried in vain to insist they existed until one of the men from the US nuclear commission “corrected” several of her inaccurate statements..one of them being that the US nuclear investigators found NO evidence that Saddam Hussein ever used them on his people.

        In fact, Rice was taken to task and all but called a liar..which is exactly what Itsfun is doing..lying to save face for having voted for a Texan buffoon and in reality getting that Wyoming SOB Cheney.

        Reply
      2. BillP February 15, 2016

        Paul remember this is from someone who claims the President Obama used a teleprompter in his presidential debates with McCain and then with Romney. Neither of the Republican candidates complained about this alleged advantage.

        Reply
      3. itsfun February 15, 2016

        Didn’t say wmd’s were found. I said almost every intelligence agency in the free world said there WMD’s. How do you explain away the people that were proven killed by chemical warfare?

        Reply
        1. Paul Bass February 15, 2016

          Killed by chlorine gas does NOT mean WMD.

          Reply
        2. Paul Bass February 15, 2016

          Ok, your logic: WMD not found, but “every agency..” said there were WMD? So which is it, they weren’t found, or they were there?

          Yes, you just said, “didn’t say wmd’s were found” and in the NEXT sentence you say, “said there (is) WMDs. You do realize that “is’ and “found” mean the same thing in this context?

          Yes, I know cons aren’t very good at english but this is very confused writing here, maybe you should take a basic english course!

          Reply
          1. itsfun February 15, 2016

            I said no wmd were found. I also said most intelligence agencies in the free world said there were WMD’s. If you just want to play word games, that is fine with me. If you don’t like what I say or how I say it, don’t read it. Maybe you should take a class in being a decent human being.

            Reply
          2. Paul Bass February 15, 2016

            itsfun complaining about being a decent human being, …. from a troll?

            Are you for real? You do realize that EVERYONE here at NM detests you and your opinions? When all you do is spout con nonsense and lies, you think anyone views You as “a decent human being”?

            Reply
          3. itsfun February 15, 2016

            Do you actually think I care about what others think?

            Reply
          4. Paul Bass February 15, 2016

            Wow, proving my point exactly!
            You ARE a hateful idiot no one likes! Congrats!

            Reply
          5. itsfun February 16, 2016

            And you are the north end of a south bound horse.

            Reply
    2. oldtack February 15, 2016

      How about some facts to back up your allegations. “Almost every Intelligence agency in the free world” name them and quote their analyses on this alleged fact. When did Saddam used weapons of mass destruction on his own people. He used Gas on the insurgents killing thousands. But – where were the weapons of mass destruction? Define Saddam’s arsenal of weapons of Mass destruction.
      Who placed Saddam in power? Who supplied Saddam with all the arsenal he desired to wage war against Iran? Do your checking close to home and near the Potomac. Who supplied weapons to Iran to fight against Saddam when Saddam fell out of favor? Who took the money from the sale of arms and funneled it to CIA operatives and Contra troops in Central America in an abortive attempt to control the government in Nicaragua? Again check close to home along the Potomac.

      Reply
      1. itsfun February 15, 2016

        If gas isn’t a WMD, just what is?

        Reply
        1. Paul Bass February 15, 2016

          It DOES NOT meet the legal definition of WMD, besides it would be the delivery system FOR the gas which would be the WMD, but I would not expect a typical con/troll to know the difference.

          Reply
          1. itsfun February 15, 2016

            I couldn’t care less about the legal definition. Any thing that kills thousands of people is a weapon of mass destruction. Using your logic any airplane that dropped a bomb was a weapon of mass destruction. I would expect a liberal like you to try and convince someone a chemical that murders thousands in not a weapon. I wonder what the Jewish people think about using gas to murder people?

            Reply
          2. Paul Bass February 15, 2016

            Funny, the UN cares greatly about “legal” definitions.

            Jewish people aren’t so stupid as to associate the Holocaust with WMD, they have nothing to do with each other. You should try to do the same.

            Diversion over to the Holocaust is just la la land, get back on topic.

            Reply
          3. itsfun February 15, 2016

            Ask anyone that has been in the military if they think a chemical weapon that killed thousands is a WMD

            Reply
        2. oldtack February 15, 2016

          Oh – but he was alleged to have weapons of mass destruction – not just a weapon (Gas). And hwo supplied Saddam with Gas?

          True to fashion – you answer questions with one reply question? Where is your proof for your allegations I requested? Who placed Saddam in power in Iraq? Who supplied him with weapons? When he fell out of favor who sold weapons to Iran to help in their war with Iraq? Who took the money from these illegal sales and funneled it to Central American ot reinforce the Contra in their abortive attempt to unseat the power in Nicaragua?

          Reply
          1. itsfun February 15, 2016

            I have absolutely nothing to prove to you. Would you tell me who furnished the weapons in fast and furious?

            Reply
          2. oldtack February 15, 2016

            just like a broken record. Answer a question with a question. you not even a worthwhile troll. Have a good what ever.

            Reply
          3. pisces63 February 17, 2016

            That was under Bush. Republicans would not let Obama stop it. They voted against it. Look it up and get a clue.

            Reply
    3. Deb Brouhard February 15, 2016

      The WMD was a flat out lie, and the lie Chaney used to have Colin Powell go before the UN not knowing it was a setup by Chaney to ruin Powell’s chance to be president. Everyone knows it’s a lie but GOP folks have to keep saying it because you don’t want to admit you cost over 4800 Americans their lives (for NOTHING), injured over 100,000 Americans permanently (and now don’t want to pay for medical aid), and killed over 100,000 Iraqis. All to do what—help Halleburton make billions of dollars.

      Reply
  4. oldtack February 15, 2016

    Follow the money trail in this Republican charade. The “fix” has been in action from the beginning of the comedy. What makes this “Fun” is that the super pacs didn’t foresee Donald Trump and Ben Carson -two outsider “flies in the ointment.” The plan was Jeb Bush as the Nominee and his running mate, either Cruz or Rubio. Who has received the most from the Super money pacs? Check Rubio and Bush.

    I like to watch Trump. He has exposed these politicians for what they are – high priced prostitutes who have sold their souls to the money powers to do whatsoever they are told. These people are not there to serve this Country and do what is best for their constituents. They are there for the monetary opportunities stemming from those that bought them.

    Don’t look to the “other side” for “salvation”. They are all of the same ilk.

    Reply
  5. Deb Brouhard February 15, 2016

    If anyone thinks Trump would do anything but diminish US standing in the world is an ignorant fool. Nobody likes a bully and our friends would become our enemies. And at home the dumb folks, especially the middle class and poor will find themselves stomped into the ground as Trump reminds them they make too much, and the rich are the only deserving ones. Women would find themselves more hostile work environments, sexual harrassment will increase (and too bad, because they laughed and cheered Trump’s misogyny, only to be “astonished” that it’s happening to them “in their workplace”, but they get no sympathy or help), women will be returned to second class status, too stupid to make their own health decisions, more foreign workers will be given visas to work in the US (Trump’s businesses have asked for increased numbers) so middle class whites, especially, will find themselves out of jobs just like they were under Bush. They will deserve what happens to them for being stupid and allowing their racism to rule their vote. Can’t wait until they get screwed again, then they’ll claim they never voted for Trump just like they claimed after losing their jobs under Bush they didn’t vote for him. To prevent this the Dems have to win

    Reply
  6. Irishgrammy February 15, 2016

    I watched small portions of this debate, (didn’t have enough antacids to watch the whole thing) and have to say it was the first time I have seen Trump actually rattled! Was fun to see!!! Cruz also seemed to be caught with his “pants down” as well. But as usual, lying was in full attack mode, and insults were flying like mosquitos in July!

    Reply
  7. NDM February 15, 2016

    The Republicans are disgracing themselves more that presenting positive policies to the American people. The standard and gutter level of the debates are a waste of time as not much substance is discussed. Based on their personalities only Marco Rubio seem to have any semblance of intellect.

    Reply

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