The top 10 GOP presidential candidates faced off Thursday night in Cleveland, Ohio in the first primary GOP debate, sponsored by Fox News and led by Fox reporters Megyn Kelly, Chris Wallace, and Bret Baier.
The top 10 lineup were, in order, Businessman Donald Trump, Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, Retired surgeon Ben Carson, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, and Ohio Gov. John Kasich.
Fox News partnered with Facebook to ask them what questions they want to ask the GOP candidates. Over 6 million viewed the Facebook post and over 40,000 submitted a question that they wanted to ask the candidates, which they get 30 seconds to answer.
In the start of the debate, candidates were asked to raise their hand if they do not pledge to support the Republican party and not run as a third party candidate if another candidate is chosen as the Republican nominee.
Donald Trump was the only candidate to raise his hand, to which the crowd responded in an overwhelming amount of booing and some mixed-in applause.
Rand Paul then furiously interjected, “He’s already hedging his bet on the Clintons, okay? So, if he doesn’t run as an Republican, maybe he supports Clinton, or maybe he runs as an Independent. But I’d say that he’s already hedging his bets, because he’s used to buying politicians.” Trump responded, “I’ve given you plenty of money.”
Megyn Kelly asked Donald Trump if he’s part of the “war on women” with his “disparaging” comments on women. “You have called women you don’t like ‘fat pigs’, ‘dogs’, ‘slobs’, and ‘disgusting animals,’” Kelly said.
He initially interrupted Kelly, saying, “Only Rosie O’Donnell.” Kelly emphasized that his comments go well beyond O’Donnell, to which Trump acknowledged.
After she finished asking the entire question, Trump said, “I frankly don’t have time for total political correctness” and added that he has been nice to Kelly although he questioned his kindness because she hasn’t been that nice to him, he stated.
At one point, Wallace probed Trump on his controversial comments on building a wall so illegal immigrants can’t enter the U.S. “If it weren’t for me, Chris, you wouldn’t even be talking about illegal immigration,” Trump responded.
Trump said that he didn’t mind having a “big beautiful door” in the wall that he wants to build to “keep illegals out.”
On illegal immigration, Marco Rubio said that he’d also like to build a fence but “if El Chapo builds a tunnel under the fence, we have to be able to deal with that, too.”
Tense moments occurred when Rand Paul started shouting at Chris Christie over the effectiveness and legality of the Patriot Act and National Security Agency surveillance, which has divided the two Republicans for a long time. The two repeatedly insulted and spoke over one another for several minutes.
When Ted Cruz was asked what it would take to destroy ISIS in 90 days, he stated, “We will not defeat Radical Islamic Terrorist, so long as we have a POTUS who won’t mention Radical. Islamic. Terrorist.”
The politicians went back and forth with both the reporters and fellow candidates throughout the debate that featured hot topics including abortion, gay marriage, economy, racial issues, foreign policy, and illegal immigration.
The presidential hopefuls bashed Hillary Clinton and Democrats as a whole throughout the debate, as they all agreed that they wanted a Republican to be the next President.
Near the end of the debate, Marco Rubio said that God has “blessed the Republican Party with several good candidates. The Democrats can’t even find one.”
Before the GOP candidates gave their closing statements, Kelly asked all of the candidates if they have “received a word from God,” to which they all discussed the importance of their faith, and asked them what they would do for U.S. veterans.