The four remaining Republican presidential candidates — Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio and John Kasich — met for their 11th debate on Thursday night in the Motor City, five days before the Michigan primary.
Here are all of the highlights:
On foreign affairs
At one point, Senator Marco Rubio (Florida) went after Trump, accusing him of expressing “admiration” for Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“Putin said very nice things about me,” Trump corrected Rubio.
“And I say, very nicely, wouldn’t it be nice if actually we could get along with Russia?” Trump asked. “We could get along with foreign countries instead of spending trillions and trillions of dollars. You’re talking about Flint, Michigan. You’re talking about places. We need to rebuild the infrastructure of our country. Wouldn’t it be nice if we got along with the world, and maybe Russia could help us in our quest to get rid of ISIS, etc., etc.?”
Gov. John Kasich (Ohio) did not take the same tone when a foreign policy question was posed to him.
“I would tell the Chinese, you don’t own the South China Sea, stop hacking us,” Kasich said.
The candidates were relentless in getting their messages out, not hesitating to do so at the cost of one another – even when Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton was the subject.
On who stands the best chance of stopping a Hillary Clinton presidency
“Donald Trump, in 2008, wrote four checks to elect Hillary Clinton as president,” Cruz said. “So I would like to ask Donald, why did you write checks to Hillary Clinton to be president in 2008? It wasn’t for business, and how you can stand on a debate stage now with her and say you don’t think she should be president?”
Kasich made the case that Clinton “worked aggressively to depose Muammar Gaddafi.”
“We had no business doing it,” Kasich said, adding that the former Libyan leader “was working with us” and with him gone, Libya has become “fertile ground for ISIS.”
“Trump has mocked everybody with personal attacks. He has done so to people sitting on the stage today,” Rubio said, excusing his own recent tactics of what some have described as lowering himself to Trump’s level.
“He has done so about people that are disabled,” Rubio continued, adding, “So if there’s anyone who’s ever deserved to be attacked that way, it’s been Donald Trump.”
Trump seemed to reconsider how insultingly he has treated Rubio in the past.
“I also happen to call him a lightweight, OK?” Trump said. “And I have said that. So I would like to take that back. He is really not that much of a lightweight.”
But Trump wasn’t willing to let Rubio’s comments about his “small hands” go unanswered.
“He hit my hands. Nobody has ever hit my hands. I have never heard of this,” Trump said. “Look at those hands. Are they small hands? And he referred to my hands as if they are small, something else must be small. I guarantee you there is no problem. I guarantee you.”
Things got even more outrageous later during an argument over who would nominate the most conservative Supreme Court justice. At one point, Trump kept interrupting Cruz’s answer.
“Breathe, breathe, breathe. You can do it. I know it’s hard,” Cruz fired back at Trump.
That’s when Rubio chimed in, saying, “When they’re done with the yoga, can I answer a question?” to which Cruz said he hoped no one would have to witness any yoga on the stage.
“Well [Trump]’s very flexible, so you never know,” Rubio said to audience laughter.