US: Trump attaked before Super Tuesday
Rubio and Cruz go after frontrunner on immigration, healthcare and more.Both campaigns claim victory ahead of crucial Super Tuesday races.Sexual assault allegations against Trump resurface
(Note: Till now Donald Trump was leading in the Republican Camp for presidential nomination to be done after 5 days from now. But in the latest public debate on Thursday his weaknesses on immigration, health care, employing foreign cheap labour were exposed by his own party men Rubio and Cruz. So these three are now vying for the nomination. Debate degenerated into a shouting match and pelting of abusive epithets much like our Indian parliamentarians, reports the Guardian, UK’s reputable daily. Trump was accused of using cheap illegal imigarants to build up his own business empire. His atrtackers even cited many fraud cases that came up or still going on in court against Trump. He was also accused of running a “fake university” solely to make profit. “Won’t it be very shameful,” Trump was asked, “if he were to fight two battles at once: one to win the election as presidential nominee, and another in the court to prove he is not a commited fraud?” At the end each one claimed victory for himself. Let us wait and see next week whom the Super Tuesday will name as the Republican candidate. james kottoor, editor.)
Marco Rubio took the fight to Donald Trump on Thursday night. With assistance from Ted Cruz, the Florida senator unleashed an attack on Trump’s business record and policy acumen that has the potential to shake up the Republican presidential race.
Trump, who has emerged as the Republican frontrunner with remarkably little vetting, was consistently attacked for employing foreign and illegal workers, for his business record and for his lack of policy specifics.
The debate, five days before the critical Super Tuesday primaries when voters in 12 states will cast their verdict on the Republican field, descended into a series of personal attacks and bad-tempered exchanges. At times, the candidates shouted over each other.
Rubio gleefully mocked Trump, saying “You say the same thing every night,” and even gave his own parody of Trump’s stump speech: “Everyone’s dumb, I’m going to make America great again, I’m winning in the polls, lines around the states, every night.”
It was the first time rival candidates have used a debate stage to go after the foundation of Trump’s campaign – his experience as a businessman, his assertion that he is the only candidate who can be relied upon to be a stalwart opponent of illegal immigration, and his fundamental belief in “winning”.
It left Trump stuttering and defensive.“I don’t repeat myself,” he said, as he struggled through another tough exchange with Rubio.“I don’t repeat myself. I don’t repeat myself.”
There is a growing anti-Trump movement and our goal tonight was to have Marco emerge as leader of that movement.The concerted attacks and Trump’s counterpunching left John Kasich and Ben Carson as relative bystanders. At one point, Carson pleaded: “Can somebody attack me?”
Trump has built a populist movement of discontented blue collar voters very different from the fiscally and socially conservative coalition George W Bush once relied on. As he said onstage: “We are building a new Republican party. A lot of new people are coming in.”But on Thursday his rivals tried to discredit him with those voters and consolidate their own appeal among Republicans who disdain Trump.
Rubio used immigration as a cudgel. The first question, from CNN moderator Wolf Blitzer, was on Trump’s plan to deport 11 million undocumented immigrants but to let “the good ones” back in. Rubio seized the opportunity.“The truth is, though, that a lot of these positions that he’s now taking are new to him,” he said.
He referred to a New York Times story on Thursday that claimed that Trump’s exclusive club in Palm Beach, Florida, has pursued more than 500 temporary foreign worker visas since 2010 and hired only a handful of US residents. “We saw a report in one of the newspapers that Donald, you’ve hired a significant number of people from other countries to take jobs that Americans could have filled,” Rubio said.
“My mom and dad – my mom was a maid at a hotel, and instead of hiring an American like her, you have brought in over a thousand people from all over the world to fill those jobs instead.”
Trump said this was because of a lack of available American workers. “They were part-time jobs,” he said. “You needed them, or we just might as well close the doors, because you couldn’t get help in those hot, hot sections of Florida.”
Rubio then mentioned reports claiming that undocumented immigrants have worked at Trump properties. In the 1980s Trump faced a lawsuit alleging that undocumented Polish demolition workers worked on Trump Tower in Manhattan. The suit was not settled until 1999, and the settlement never made public. A 2015 Washington Post story suggested undocumented workers could have been involved in building a new luxury hotel in the city.
“You’re the only person on this stage that has ever been fined for hiring people to work on your projects illegally. You hired some workers from Poland,” Rubio said, adding that Trump was forced to pay “a million dollars or so” in a judgment.
Trump said this was “totally wrong” and hit back: “I’m the only one on the stage that’s hired people. You haven’t hired anybody.” “If he builds the [border] wall the way he built Trump Towers he’ll be using illegal immigrant labor to do it,” Rubio said.“I’ve hired tens of thousands of people,” Trump said. “He brings up something from 30 years ago. It worked out very well. Everybody was happy.”
Cruz attacked Trump as a Johnny Come Lately.“I really find it amazing that Donald believes that he is the one who discovered the issue of illegal immigration,” the senator said. “I can tell you, when I ran for Senate here in the state of Texas, I ran promising to lead the fight against amnesty, promising to fight to build a wall.
“And in 2013, when I was fighting against the ‘gang of eight’ amnesty bill, where was Donald? He was firing Dennis Rodman on Celebrity Apprentice.” Rubio also repeatedly hit Trump on Trump University, a for-profit enterprise that promised to teach attendees about the real-estate world. Trump is facing several lawsuits in federal court from unhappy customers of what Rubio said was “a fake university”.
The attack was echoed by Cruz, who referenced one coming case, warning that Trump’s “lawyers have scheduled the trial for July” and saying the mainstream media would make hay if “the Republican nominee [was] in court on the stand being cross-examined about whether he has committed fraud”.Trump claimed the allegations in the case were “nonsense” and insisted that he had only refused to settle it out of principle.
Rubio jibed: “You know where Donald Trump would be if he hadn’t inherited $200m? Selling watches in Manhattan.”Trump was also left staggering after an assault from Rubio on his healthcare plan. In response, Trump insisted he would “get rid of the lines around states”, without providing further detail, and resorted to bringing up Rubio’s implosion in the New Hampshire debate against Chris Christie as a defense.
“I watched him repeat himself five times four weeks ago,” Trump insisted.Rubio fired back: “I just watched you repeat yourself five times five seconds ago.”Trump kept on trying to change the subject to New Hampshire.
Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz shake hands while Donald Trump stands by.
Trump was then repeatedly hit on a supposed reluctance to release his tax returns, a subject that 2012 Republican nominee Mitt Romney – no stranger to the issue – has brought up in recent days. Cruz and Rubio said they would release their tax returns in the coming days, Rubio saying his were coming Friday or Saturday. Trump said he could not release his because of an ongoing audit.“Every year they audit me,” Trump said. “I will absolutely file my returns, but I’m being audited now for two or three years and I can’t do it until the audit is finished.”
Afterwards, the Rubio and Cruz campaigns both declared victory. Jason Miller, a top aide to Cruz, told the Guardian the senator “jammed up Donald Trump”. He also sarcastically praised Rubio “for eating his Wheaties and getting into the mix for the first time”.
Miller felt confident that night was a win for his man. “Donald Trump didn’t look presidential tonight and he lost a lot of votes,” he said before adding, in a reference to the immigration reform effort spearheaded by Rubio in 2013: “Those votes aren’t going to a member of the gang of eight.”
Todd Harris, a top adviser to Rubio, said the Florida senator had met all his goals: “There is a growing anti-Trump movement within the party and our goal tonight was to have Marco emerge as leader of that movement and I think we succeeded.” Miller said many of Rubio’s attacks were not based on substantive issues because “trying to wage a battle of substance against Trump is pretty futile effort”.
“Anyone who goes into an attack on Donald Trump by saying he’s not a conservative,” he said, “is not going to win that fight because Trump doesn’t pretend to be a conservative.
The debate was the last one before Super Tuesday, which will produce the largest delegate haul of the GOP candidate selection process. Texas, with 155 delegates, is the largest of the 12 states that vote on 1 March, which range from conservative southern states such as Alabama and Georgia to liberal outposts in New England such as Vermont and Massachusetts.
Trump has led in recent polls in almost every Super Tuesday state. The exception is Texas, Cruz’s home state, where the senator has a narrow lead. Trump leads Rubio in Florida.I think Rubio was a weak guy. I thought Ted Cruz did better but what do I know
Todd Harris, the Rubio aide, said his candidate finally went after Trump onlybecause Jeb Bush had dropped out. As long as the former Florida governor was running, he said, attacks from his Super Pac “made it hard for us to make case that this was two-person race between us and Donald Trump”.
The question now is this: given that the Rubio campaign is already writing off any chance of winning a Super Tuesday state, when will that two-man race come to exist and who will run it? As Jason Miller, the Cruz operative, jibed about Rubio’s newfound aggression: “Marco has yet to win a state. There’s probably more a sense of desperation and it has to be weighing on him pretty heavily.”
Elsewhere in the spin room, Trump also dismissed Rubio.“I thought he was ineffective,” he said. “I think he was a weak guy. I thoughtTed Cruz did better but what do I know.” Rubio, he charged, was a “choke artist”.The tone was familiar; at times, the debate had descended into little more than a slanging match, candidates speaking angrily over each other.
“Donald, you can get back on your meds now,” Cruz said during one exchange.“I’m relaxed. You’re the basket case,” Trump said.Carson, speaking to reporters, sought to sum it all up.“It’s clear this was all about ratings and fights,” he said. “Unfortunately, the audience didn’t help because when people would fight they would yell ‘Yeah! Yeah!’ like it was gladiators.”