The first Republican debate of the 2016 campaign appeared to leave the nomination contest just as it was before.
Donald Trump brought to Thursday’s debate the same sharp tongue and controversial style that has propelled him to the top of the polls in the Republican race. He was outspoken, bombastic and unapologetic. He did exactly what he has been doing up to now, and it hasn’t hurt him yet.
Below are a few choice segments from the article by Chief correspondent, The Washington Post.
In front of a partisan Republican audience, whose overriding goal next year is to recapture the White House, Trump refused to pledge to support the eventual nominee of the party (unless, he said, he is the nominee). Nor would he decline to pledge that, if he isn’t the nominee, he will not run an independent campaign for president — something many Republicans believe would guarantee a Democratic victory.
Trump has defied political gravity throughout his brief candidacy, continuing to rise, for example, after he declared that he did not think Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), who was a POW during the Vietnam War, should be seen as a hero, saying he preferred people who didn’t get captured. Many of his opponents criticized him for that, just as they had for his comment that many illegal immigrants were rapists or drug dealers or murderers.
The wealthy businessman and reality TV star was just one of 10 candidates on the stage. At times, he was a mere bystander to sharp exchanges and scintillating moments involving the others, including a tense and high-octane argument between New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky about the balance between national security and civil liberties.
Former Florida governor Jeb Bush defended his positions on immigration, which are at odds with the party base. Kasich won applause from the hometown audience with an impassioned statement about loving someone who is gay even while opposing same-sex marriage.
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker made repeated appeals to the party base. Sen. Ted Cruz (Tex.) charted his anti-Washington, anti-establishment course with vigor. Sen. Marco Rubio (Fla.) offered himself as the candidate for the future.
To read the full document by Dan Balz in The Washington Post click on the link below.
The Washington Post: The Donald is still on top — for the moment, at least,