GOP Debate: Republican candidates levy attacks on Trump

Candidates for the Republican party presidential nomination spent significant time trying to discredit front-runner Donald Trump last night at the 11th GOP Debate in Detroit.

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, businessman Trump, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and Ohio Gov. John Kasich touched on immigration, social issues and dealing with ISIS, but spent the majority of the time talking about the results of Super Tuesday, and Trump's business endeavors, his record of changing his stance on issues and an off-the-record conversation about his immigration plan recorded with the New York Times.

Rubio and Cruz urged Republican voters to not support Trump, saying he doesn't represent the values of the party. 

"We are not going to turn over the conservative movement to someone who doesn't represent conservative beliefs," Rubio said. 

Trump had his own arguments against Rubio, including drawing on his lack of experience. When asked how many jobs he had created, the senator never found the answer. 

Here's what the candidates said on some of the issues:

Tax reform

Trump, who won seven states on Super Tuesday, wants to cut taxes by getting rid of "waste, fraud and abuse." He wants to cut funding to the Environmental Protection Agency and other U.S. departments. 

Cruz said he was confident that he will beat Trump and Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton, should she get the nomination. He advocates for a simple flat tax and the elimination of the IRS. 

"Under President (Barack) Obama, the IRS has become so corrupt and so politicized, we need to abolish it altogether," he said.

Kasich, who refrained from personally attacking the other candidates, repeatedly referenced his experience as Chairman of the U.S. House Budget Committee. He wants to cut personal and business taxes.


Trump's stance on immigration became muddier when he admitted he'd had an off-the-record interview with The New York Times on his "flexibility" with his plan to build a wall on the border with Mexico. Other candidates urged him to release the interview. 

"There always has to be some tug and pull. I'm not very flexible (on immigration)," he said at the debate. "(The wall) is going to get built. Mexico is going to pay for the wall."

Trump also admitted to bringing in workers from overseas to work at his restaurant in Palm Beach, as well as having his campaign clothing made in other countries.

Rubio, who failed to pass immigration reform in 2006, said illegal immigration needs to be brought under control before any other policy can be put in place.


Trump said the U.S. needs to utilize enhanced interrogation techniques against its enemies, including waterboarding, and supported "more severe" torture than that. He believes terrorists' families should also be targeted.

Rubio said in order to defeat ISIS, the group must be denied operating space, specifically focusing on Libya.

Kasich proposed a stronger military presence.

"We have to be (in Syria and Iraq) on the ground in significant numbers," he told viewers.

Comparing his plan to that of Ronald Reagan's, Cruz said the military needs to be rebuilt.

On social issues

In Michigan, the second largest concern was clean water, according to a Facebook poll. The topic was brought up only once during the debate. 

Rubio said it has become too politicized, but the Flint Water Crisis is a non-partisan issue. He was also asked about the Second Amendment, and said he will protect these rights. Cruz echoed.

Trump said he no longer supports a ban on assault weapons.

Cruz was asked whether he believes gay couples should be able to adopt. It should be left to the states to decide, he said, as well as marriage. 

Kasich said he disagreed with the Supreme Court ruling. 

Democratic candidates Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders will face off on Sunday in Flint. Keep up with Central Michigan Life for coverage.

WATCH: CM Life staff reports from Detroit at the GOP Debate


About Sydney Smith

Sydney Smith is a super-senior at Central Michigan University. She comes from metro Detroit ...

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