Thursday, March 3, 2016

US election 2016: Donald Trump under attack from debate rivals

Presidential contender Donald Trump has come under attack from his rivals at a Republican debate, after a day in which the party's veteran politicians urged voters to desert him.

  • The front-runner in the Republican race was on the defensive in Detroit as Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz piled in.
  • In a testy debate, Mr Trump admitted he changed his stance on issues but said flexibility was a strength.

Senior Republicans say Mr Trump is a liability who would lose the election.

  • The debate hosted by Fox News began with Mr Trump being asked about an attack earlier in the day by Mitt Romney, the 2012 nominee, who accused the businessman of bullying, greed and misogyny.
  • Mr Trump dismissed Mr Romney as a "failed candidate", but he immediately found himself on the defensive from Mr Rubio.
  • The Florida senator said he was "not going to turn over the conservative movement to someone who thinks the nuclear triad is a rock band from the 1980s".

  • Other debate highlights:

    All three of Mr Trump's rivals said they would back him if he wins the nomination
    Mr Trump was pressed to move his clothing manufacturing back to the US from China and Mexico
    Ohio Governor John Kasich said he was the "grown-up" on the stage who had the best chance against Democrat Hillary Clinton
    Using a big screen with graphics, Fox host Chris Wallace challenged Mr Trump on whether his planned savings added up
    Texas Senator Mr Cruz said Mr Trump was part of a corrupt Washington system, funding Mrs Clinton's 2008 election campaign
    Mr Trump justified waterboarding of "animals in the Middle East" and the killing of the families of terrorists
    But he dodged demands to allow the New York Times to release tapes of an "off the record" conversation

  • In one of the most bizarre moments, Mr Trump defended the size of his hands and then quipped about another part of his anatomy.

  • There were plenty of personal insults from Mr Trump, who labelled the Florida senator "little Rubio" and the senator from Texas as "liar Ted".

  • The New York businessman was forced to explain a civil lawsuit involving the collapse of Trump University.

He said he would win the case but Mr Rubio said he was trying to "con people into giving him their vote, just like he conned people into giving him their money".
Image copyright AFP

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