Ahead of the debate, former presidential candidate Mitt Romney, who lost to Barack Obama in 2012, attacked Trump, calling him an unelectable “fraud” and a “phony”, whose nomination would ensure victory for Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton in the November 8 election.
Dismissing his rivals as “lying Ted” and “little Marco”, Donald Trump fended off intense attacks from his fellow presidential hopefuls at a debate Thursday that comes amid deeps signs of divisions within the Republican Party.
Asked whether they could and would support Trump as the GOP standard-bearer in the fall election, both Rubio and Cruz (and Ohio Gov. John Kasich) said yes.
“He couldn’t get elected dog catcher”, Trump said. “I wanted to show him the size of my hands, how I could grab him, how I could grab him”, Trump said, addressing hundreds of highly enthusiastic and cheering supporters in MI. “Are they small hands?”.
Trump referred to Rubio’s tease with a crude sexual reference of his own.
“Look at those hands, are these small hands?“.
“I guarantee you there’s no problem”, Trump said to howls from the audience at the Fox debate. Trump’s remarks, likely unprecedented in a U.S. presidential debate, appeared as the nadir of a campaign season already notable for its provocative and assaulting tone.
Donald Trump emphatically responded to attacks from Marco Rubio earlier in the campaign, in which Rubio had accused Trump of having “small hands“, and insinuated he must also have small genitalia.
“I’m going to be supporting that person and doing everything I can to make sure they become the nominee of the party”, he said.
“We’re going to win Florida”, he said.
Romney, for his part, had called Trump “very, very not smart” when it came to foreign policy issues, and predicted that with the billionaire in charge of the country, “the prospects for a safe and prosperous future are greatly diminished”. A Trump presidency, he said, would inevitably lead to a recession and compromise America’s national security.
Mr Trump was repeatedly accused of being inconsistent on immigration, the war in Afghanistan, President George W Bush and was also pressed to move his clothing manufacturing back to the USA from China and Mexico. Kasich said. “People say, wherever I go: ‘You seem to be the adult on stage’”.
“Mr. Trump, one of the things people love about you is they believe you tell it like it is”, she said.