The 10th GOP Debate is down to five candidates, Ben Carson, Marco Rubio, Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, and John Kasich. It was moderated yet again by some of the same flaming liberals, Wolf Blitzer, Maria Celeste Arraras, Hugh Hewitt, and Dana Bash.
The debate began with the candidates introducing themselves.
Ben Carson: If someone had tried to describe today’s America to you 30 years ago, you would have listened in disbelief. American’s know that our nation is heading off the abyss of destruction. Secondary to divisiveness, fiscal irresponsibility and failure to lead. Marco, Donald, Ted, John, we will not solve any of these problems by trying to destroy each other. What we need to do is be looking for solutions tonight. It’s not about us, it’s about the American People.
John Kasich: Well you know on the way over here, even getting ready earlier, sitting in the green room and watching the early coverage… You know my father carried mail on his back and his father was a coal miner. And my mother’s mother was an immigrant, could barely speak English, and I’m standing on this stage. It’s pretty remarkable. But I want to tell you, there’s a lot of young people watching tonight. You can do whatever you want to do in your life. America is an amazing country where a kid like me can grow up to run for President of the United States and be on this stage tonight. So all the young people that are out there, your hopes, your dreams, pursue ’em. Shoot for the stars. America’s great and you can do it. Thank you Wolf.
Marco Rubio: Well thank you. This election, we have to decide the identity of America in the 21st century. But as part of this primary we have to find our identity as a party and as a movement. Thirty six years ago Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush began the Reagan revolution. For a generation they defined conservatism as limited government, free enterprise and a strong national defense. But they also appealed to our hopes and our dreams. Now we have to decide if we are still that kind of party and still that kind of movement. Or if we’re simply going to become a party that preys on peoples’ angers and fears. I hope we remain that conservative movement that appeals to our hopes and our dreams and a belief that America will always be better in its future than it’s been in its history.
Ted Cruz: Welcome to Texas. Texas provided my family with hope. Here my mom became the first in our family ever to go to college. Here my dad fled Cuba and washed dishes making fifty cents an hour to pay his way through the University of Texas. I graduated High School at 2nd Baptist not too far away from here. When I ran for Senate I promised 27 million Texans I would fight for you every day and not for the Washington bosses. And I’ll tell you as I travel the state, Democrats tell me, I didn’t vote for you, but you’re doing what you said you would do. And as President, I will do the same.
Donald Trump: Thank you. My whole theme is make America great again. We don’t win anymore as a country. We don’t win with trade. We don’t win with the military. ISIS, we can’t even knock out ISIS and we will, believe me. We will. We don’t win in any capacity with health care, we have terrible health care. Obamacare is going to be repealed and replaced. We just don’t win. You look at our borders, they’re like Swiss Cheese. Everybody pours in. We’re going to make a great country again, we’re going to start winning again. We’re going to win a lot. It’s going to be a big difference, believe me, it’s going to be a big, big difference.
Wolf Blitzer began questions with Trump. Mr. Trump, you’ve called for a deportation force to remove the 11 million undocumented immigrants from the United States. (Illegals, Wolf. Geeze, can we please have conservatives as debate moderators?) You’ve also promised to let, what you call the good ones, come back in after they’ve been deported. Senator Cruz would not allow them to come back in. He says, that’s the biggest difference between the two of you. He calls your plan amnesty. Is it?
Trump said, first of all, he was in charge of amnesty, he was the leader and you can as Marco, because they have been debating this every debate that we’ve had. As far as coming back in, number one, you wouldn’t even be talking and you wouldn’t have asked that as the first question if it weren’t for me… when my opening… when I talked about illegal immigration. It wouldn’t even be a big subject. But we either have a country or we don’t have a country. We have at least 11 million people in this country that came in illegally. They will go out. They will come back, some will come back. The best. Through a process. They have to come back legally. They have to come back through a process and it may not be a very quick process, but I think that’s very fair and very fine. They are going to get in line with other people. The best of them will come back. But they’re going to come back through a process.
Wolf asked Cruz what’s wrong with letting what Trump calls the good ones, to come back to the United States? Cruz replied, you know, the people that get forgotten in this debate over immigration are the hard working men and women of this country. Millions of Americans who are losing their jobs. Millions of legal immigrants who are losing their jobs or seeing their wages driven down. You know, in the past couple of weeks, the Wall Street Journal had a very interesting article about the state of Arizona. Arizona put in very tough laws on illegal immigration and the result was illegal immigrants fled the state. And what’s happened there, some of the business owners complained that the wages they had to pay workers went up. And from their perspective that was a bad thing, but what the State of Arizona has seen is the dollars they’re spending on welfare, on prisons, on education, all of those have dropped by hundreds of millions of dollars. And the Americans and for that matter the legal immigrants who were in Arizona are seeing unemployment drop, are seeing wages rise. That’s who we need to be fighting for. Listen, we have always welcomed legal immigrants, but I think it is a mistake to forgive those who break the law, to allow them to become U.S. citizens. And that’s why I’ve lead the fight against granting citizenship to those here illegally and that’s why I will do the same thing as President.
Wolf said to Rubio that Cruz compared his plan to amnesty and like Obama supports legal status here in the United States after a background check, paying a fine, and paying taxes. Wolf asked if those claims are correct. Rubio said, well first of all, before we do anything and I’ve been abundantly clear on this, when I am President of the United States, before we do anything on immigration, we are going to secure the border. And that’s not just the physical border with Mexico, it’s visa overstays. That’s 45% of the problem right there. It also has to do… that’s why we need eVerify and entry/exit tracking systems and so forth. And until that happens we’re not doing anything else. And then we’ll see what the American people are willing to support. And Donald mentioned, because he mentioned me in his answer, that his position on immigration is what’s driven this debate. Well the truth is though, that a lot of these positions that he is now taking are new to him. In 2011 he talked about needing a pathway to citizenship. In 2012 Donald criticized Mitt Romney, saying that Mitt lost his election because of self deportation. Even today 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. My mom was a maid at a hotel and instead of hiring an American like her, you have brought in over 1000 people from all over the world to fill those jobs instead. So I think this is an important issue that’s been debated for 30 years, but finally needs to be solved once and for all.
Trump argued that he hired foreigners for short term jobs no one else wanted to do, because it was hot in Florida. Rubio said, I think you need to acknowledge that you are the only one on this stage that has been fined for hiring people illegally. Trump said, no, I’m the only one on the stage who has hired people. You haven’t hired anybody. Rubio continued, he hired people from Poland and had to pay a million dollar judgement. People can Google it right now: Trump-Poland-Workers, you’ll see a million dollars fined for hiring illegal workers on his projects. Trump just said, wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong…
Wolf asked Cruz what would happen to the children who are U.S. citizens whose parents would be deported under his plan? Anchor Babies are NOT covered by the 14th Amendment Wolf and we have to end this notion. Cruz said, existing law provides that those who are deported cannot come back here legally, U.S. citizens can come back. That’s existing law. But let me say Wolf, I really find it amazing that Donald believes that he is the one who discovered the issue of illegal immigration. I can tell you that 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 leading the fight against the Gang of 8 Amnesty bill, where was Donald? He was firing Dennis Rodman on Celebrity Apprentice. And indeed, if you look at the Gang of 8, one individual on this stage broke his promise to the men and women who elected him and wrote the amnesty bill. But Donald funded the Gang of 8. If you look at the 8 members of the Gang of 8, Donald gave over $50,000 to 3 Democrats and 2 Republicans. And when you’re funding open border politicians, you shouldn’t be surprised when they fight for open borders. And I think if you want to know who will actually secure the borders and follow through, you ought to ask who has a record before they were candidate for President of fighting to secure the borders and stop amnesty. And I’m the only one on this stage that has that record. And by the way, Marco is exactly right, that a federal court found Donald guilty of being part of a conspiracy to hire people illegally and entered a 1 million dollar judgement against him.
Trump said that he got along with everyone and Cruz can’t get along with anyone and doesn’t have one Republican Senator backing him. Cruz said, Donald is right. He will go and cut deals. He has supported and given hundreds of thousands of dollars to Democrats. Anybody who really cared about illegal immigration wouldn’t be hiring illegal immigrants, funding Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi, and wouldn’t be funding the Gang of 8. He is right. When you stand up to Washington and honor the promise you made to the men and women who elected you, and say enough with the corruption, enough with the cronyism, let’s actually stand for the working men and women of this country, Washington doesn’t like it. And Donald, you want to be liked in Washington. That’s not a good attribute for a President.
Trump responded by saying that on his disclosure form Cruz didn’t put that he borrowed money from CitiBank and Goldman Sachs and pays almost no interest.
Wolf took it to Kasich. He said, I’m going to quote you now. “The idea that we are going to deport all these people is ludicrous and everybody knows it.” Should people be allowed to break the law just because it’s not feasible to stop them? Kasich said, the answer is you complete the border, you let people know that once it’s done you don’t have a right to come in. If you come in, we don’t want any excuse, you’re going to go back. But I favor a guest worker program. I think it’s practical. And I think for the 11 or 11 and a half million Americans or the illegals that are here, if they have not committed a crime since they have been here, I’d make ’em pay a fine, some back taxes, maybe some community service, and in the end I’d give them a path to legalization, but not a path to citizenship. This isn’t the first debate that Kasich called illegals, Americans. Wow, he not only sees them as cheap labor, but free slave labor.
Carson said, I believe in liberty and justice for all. I think that everything we do should be fair. I’ve already described how we can secure the border. We need to secure all the borders, because it’s not just people coming in from South America and Mexico. There are terrorists who want to destroy us who are getting across our borders fairly easily. We have to stop that. In terms of the people who are here already after we stop the illegal immigration, we need to be reasonable. I would give them a 6 month period in which to get registered as a guest worker, assuming they have an acceptable record. They have to pay a back tax penalty, pay taxes going forward, but they don’t have to live underground anymore. They do not become American citizens, they do not vote. If they want to become an American citizen they go through exactly the same process that anybody else goes through. We have other ways of utilizing our facilities and our talents as foreign aid doing things in South America and Central America and Mexico that improve the economy there, so that they don’t feel the need to come over here. What? We pay to improve other countries so they like it better there and stay? Now I’ve heard it all. We need to worry about improving our own economy. Mexico’s economy is not my concern, nor my responsibility to pay for.
Trump was asked how he was going to make Mexico pay for the wall since their current and last two Presidents say they refuse. He said the wall just got 10 feet higher and insisted they would pay for the wall. He was asked if he would start a trade war over it. Trump said he isn’t afraid of having a trade war when we’re losing 58 Billion dollars to Mexico now. He went on about how much we lose in trade deficits to other countries.
Rubio mentioned that Trump’s line of clothes and ties are all made in China and that if he built the wall the same way he built Trump tower he would use illegal workers. He said the Trump started a fake university and people have borrowed $36,000 to go and all they got was a picture standing with a cardboard cutout of Trump and people are suing over it. Trump said that he won most of the lawsuit.
Maria Celeste Arraras from TeleMundo had a question for Rubio. She asked, last week you said that in your first day in office you would get rid of President Obama’s executive action known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. DACA for short. It is a program that has protected hundreds of thousands of young people that came here when they were children, brought to the U.S. by undocumented immigrants. This is the only home they know. That is a dramatic change from last April when you said in Spanish, DACA is going to have to end at some point, but it wouldn’t be fair to cancel it immediately. So, Senator Rubio, what changed? Why is it now fair to cancel it on day one? Geeze, do we have to have Anti-American TeleMundo moderators? It’s an unconstitutional executive order. Illegals are illegals. Why is it fair for a President to decree that foreigners are granted special rights, Arraras?
Rubio said, nothing changed, it’s the same policy. It will have to end at some moment and as I said, we will eliminate that executive order. The people that are on it now will not be allowed to renew it and new applicants will not be allowed to apply to it. And it’s not because we aren’t compassionate to the plight of a 2 year… someone who came here when they were 2 years old. I understand. I know people that are personally impacted by this. The problem with the executive order is, it is unconstitutional. The President doesn’t have the power to do that. And he himself admitted that. This is not about deportation. This is about DACA. DACA is an executive order that is unconstitutional. I will cancel it on my first day in office. Which means people who currently hold those permits will not be allowed to renew them when they expire. And new people will not be allowed to apply for them. You can’t solve this doing something that is unconstitutional. No matter how sympathetic we may be, because we cannot violate the Constitution of the United States the way this President does on a regular basis. Arraras said that Rubio called Cruz a liar for saying that he said something different in Spanish than he is saying now.
Trump said, he lied right now 100%. Rubio said, you lied about the Polish workers. You lied about Trump University.
Cruz said, well Maria, I would note, that you made the exact same point here that I made at the last debate and Senator Rubio called me a liar for saying that. You know, we’ve all seen at home when Washington politicians say about an illegal or unconstitutional program, well it’ll have to end some day, not immediately, but some day in the future. That inevitably is when a politician doesn’t plan to end it at all. You know, I’m reminded of, that is the same position that Marco took in Iowa on ethanol subsidies. I campaigned in Iowa and took on the lobbyists, took on the corporate welfare, and said we should have no ethanol subsidies. Marco’s position was the same as it is towards illegal amnesty. Well someday it should end, just not now. Frankly, I think we need a President who knows what he believes in, is willing to say it, on day one not at the end of his term when it’s somebody else’s problem.
Rubio said, that’s not an accurate assessment of what I said on ethanol. I said ethanol will phase out. It’s phasing out now by 2022 that program expires by virtue of the existing law and at that point it will go away and I don’t agree with the mandate on the program that’s in place. But I think it’s unfair that these people have gone out and invested all this money in this program and we’re just going to yank it away from them. And you heard the explanation in Spanish, I said very clearly that DACA will have to end at some point and that point is… at that time I wasn’t a candidate for President. I said it will end on my first day in office as president and the people who have it now will not be able to renew it and new applicants will not be able to apply. That is the end of DACA. I am sympathetic to this cause. But once again, it cannot supersede the Constitution. Rubio just admitted everything he was just accused of. He’ll wait for later. It will phase out. It will end at some point.
Arraras said that Cruz is the first hispanic to ever win a Presidential state caucus and isn’t he missing a huge opportunity to expand the Republican base by arguing with the other hispanic, Rubio, over immigration? Cruz said, you’re right, it is extraordinary that out of the 5 people standing here, that two of us are the children of Cuban immigrants. A lot of people in the media have a definition of hispanic that you can only be hispanic if you’re liberal. When I ran for Senate here in Texas, I earned 40% of the hispanic vote here in Texas. At the same time Mitt Romney was getting clobbered with 27% of the hispanic vote nation wide. Look at the values in the hispanic community. The values in our community are faith, family, patriotism. You know, we’ve got the highest rate of military enlistment among hispanics of any demographic in this country. I campaigned the same, defending conservative principles, judeo Christian principles, telling my father’s story about coming to America with $100 in his underwear, not speaking English, washing dishes, having hopes and dreams for the American dream. The truth is, the Obama/Clinton economy has done enormous damage to the hispanic community. It is not working in the hispanic community.
Rubio said, it is amazing, on this stage are 2 descendants of Cubans and an African American. We are the party of diversity, not the Democrat party.
Arraras said to Trump, you keep saying that hispanics love you. Trump said, True. She continued, yes, you won the hispanic vote in Nevada. Trump said, true. She continued, but a brand new Telemundo poll says that 3 out of 4 hispanics that vote nation wide have a negative opinion of you. They don’t like you. Wouldn’t that make you unelectable? Trump said, No. First of all, I don’t believe anything Telemundo says. I currently employ thousands of hispanics and over the years I’ve employed 10’s of thousands of hispanics. They’re incredible people. They know I’m going to bring jobs back from China, from Japan from so many other places.
Hugh Hewitt asked Cruz, do you trust Mr. Trump to nominate conservative Justices? Cruz said, Justice Scalia’s passing underscores the enormous gravity of this election. Justice Scalia was someone I knew personally for 20 years. I was privileged to be at his funeral this weekend and with his passing the court is now hanging in the balance. We are one liberal justice away from a 5 justice radical, leftist majority that would undermine our religious liberty, the right to life, and that would fundamentally erase the 2nd Amendment right to keep and bear arms from the Constitution. I think the voters of Texas and across Super Tuesday are assessing everyone standing on this stage. In the past, Republican Presidents always promise to nominate strict constitutionalists, so I’m certain if you took a survey everyone would say they would do that. But the reality is Democrats bat about 1000. Just about everyone they put on the court votes exactly as they want. Republicans have batted worse than 500. More than half of the people we put on the court have been a disaster. I’ve spent my whole life fighting to defend the Bill of Rights and the Constitution. I can tell you for voters that care about life or marriage or religious liberty, or the 2nd Amendment, they’re asking the questions, who do you know, beyond a shadow of a doubt will nominate principled constitutionalists to the court? I give you my word that every justice I nominate will vigorously defend the Bill of Rights for my children and for yours.
Hewitt asked Trump if he would commit to voters tonight that religious liberty will be an absolute litmus test for anyone he appoints, not just to the Supreme Court, but to all courts? Trump said, yes I would and I’ve been there. And I’ve been there very strongly. I do have to say something and this is interesting and it’s not anybody’s fault. It’s not Ted’s fault. Justice Roberts was strongly recommended and pushed by Ted. Justice Roberts gave us Obamacare. Might as well be called Roberts Care. That judge has been a disaster in terms of things we stand for. There is no way that he should have approved Obamacare.
Cruz said, Donald knows that it was George W. Bush that appointed John Roberts. Yes it’s true, I supported the Republican nominee once he was made, but I would not have nominated John Roberts. I would have nominated my former boss Mike Luttig who was the strongest proven conservative on the Court of Appeals. And I’ll tell you Hugh, it’s interesting now that Donald promises he will appoint justices who will defend religious liberty, but this is a man who for 40 years has given money to Jimmy Carter, Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton, Chuck Schumer, Harry Reid. Nobody who supports far left liberal Democrats who are fighting for judicial activists can possibly care about having principled constitutionalists on the court. And what Donald has told us is he will go to Washington and cut a deal. So that means on the Supreme Court, he’s going to look to cut a deal rather than fight for someone who won’t cut a deal on the Constitution, but will defend it faithfully.
Hugh asked Trump again if he would defend religious liberty?
Trump said, I have a sister who is a brilliant judge. He’s been criticizing my sister for signing a certain bill. You know who else signed that bill? Justice Samuel Alito. So I think we should get a little bit of an apology from Ted, what do you think?
Cruz said, let me tell you right now Donald, I will not apologize for a minute for defending the Constitution. And I will not apologize for defending the Bill of Rights. I find it amazing that your answer to Hugh and the American people on religious liberty is you can’t have one of these crazy zealots that actually believes in it. You gotta be willing to cut a deal. There is a reason when Harry Reid was asked, of all the people on this stage, who does he want the most, who does he like the most? Harry Reid said Donald Trump. Why? Because Donald has supported him in the past and he knows he can cut a deal with him. You know what Donald? I don’t want a Supreme Court Justice that you cut a deal with Harry Reid to undermine religious liberty, because that same justice will also erase the 2nd Amendment from the Bill of Rights.
Rubio said, the next President of the United States has to be someone you can trust to appoint someone just as good as Scalia, plus there may be at least two other vacancies. So you asked Mr. Trump to respond and say that he would and he said he would, but the bottom line is if you look at his record over the last 25 or 30 years, on issue after issue, he has not been on our side. Now if he’s changed, we’re always looking for converts into the conservative movement. Very recently he was still defending Planned Parenthood. He says he isn’t going to take sides in the Palestinians vs Israel. These are concerning things. So yes, I have a doubt about whether Donald Trump, if he becomes President, will replace Justice Scalia with someone just like Justice Scalia.
Trump said, first of all I had great respect for Justice Scalia. He was terrific. Ronald Reagan was a somewhat liberal Democrat. He evolved into a somewhat strong Conservative. As far as Planned Parenthood is concerned, I’m against abortion, but millions and millions of women… cervical cancer, breast cancer, are helped by Planned Parenthood. So you can say whatever you want.
Hewitt said to Kasich, you said if a same sex couple approaches a cup cake maker, sell ’em a cupcake! Can we trust you as much on religious liberty as the rest of these people? Kasich said, well, you know, of course. Look, I… I was involved in just being a pioneer in a new church. Religious institutions should be able to practice the religion that they believe in. In regard to same sex marriage, I don’t favor it, I’ve always favored traditional marriage. I don’t think that favoring cherry pie means you can’t like apple. This is the most non-committal answer ever. Uh, but look, the court has ruled, and I’ve moved on. It isn’t up to the court to legislate, John. We haven’t moved on. And what I’ve said Hugh is that look, where does it end, if you’re in the business of selling things, if you’re not going to sell to somebody you don’t agree with, today I’m not going to sell to somebody who’s gay and tomorrow maybe I won’t sell to somebody who’s divorced. I mean, if you’re in the business of commerce, conduct commerce. That’s my view. When it comes to religious institutions, they are inviolate in my mind. But people aren’t, just institutions? And I would fight for those religious institutions. Look, I’ve appointed over 100 judges as governor. They’re conservatives, they don’t make the law, they interpret the law, that’s all they do. And they stick by the Constitution. The constitution doesn’t grant courts the power to interpret law. It’s not there in Article 3. The founders left judicial review out on purpose, because it is legislation.
Hewitt asked Carson if the positions he heard are clear on the 1st Amendment and the first freedom? Carson said, let me first praise Justice Scalia, I first met him when we got an honorary degree together. Tremendous wit and intellect. As far as religious freedom is concerned, one of the basic tenants of this nation. And I believe that the Constitution protects all of our rights and it gives people who believe in same sex marriage the same rights as everybody else, but what we have to remember is that even though everybody has the same rights, nobody gets extra rights. So nobody gets to redefine things for everybody else and then have them have to conform to it. That’s unfair. It’s the responsibility of Congress to come back and correct what the Supreme Court has done. That’s why we have divided government.
Wolf said, all of you want to repeal and replace Obamacare, so what are your specific plans to replace it? Dana Bash asked Rubio, you said that Trump likes part of Obamacare? Is this true?
Rubio said, he said he likes the individual mandate. I don’t believe that should be part of it. That should not remain there. Repeal Obamacare completely and replace it with a system that puts Americans in charge of their health care money again. If your employer wants to buy health insurance for you, they can continue to do so, from any company in America they want to buy it from. Otherwise your employers have to provide you with tax free money only for healthcare to use any way you want.
Trump said, I agree with that 100% except preexisting conditions. I would absolutely get rid of Obamacare, we’re going to have something much better. But I want to keep preexisting conditions. Dana Bash said, regarding preexisting conditions, the only way they can cover people is to have a mandate that everybody be covered. Are they wrong? Trump said, I think they’re wrong 100%. The insurance companies take care of the politicians and get what they want. We should have gotten rid of the lines around each state, so we could have real competition. I’m self funding my campaign. I’m the only one of either party self funding my campaign. I’m going to do what’s right. Dana Bash asked, so what you are saying is that getting rid of the barriers between states will solve the problem of preexisting conditions? Trump said, that will solve a lot of the problem. The insurance companies aren’t going to say that, they want to keep it! They say whatever they have to say to keep it the way it is. I know the insurance companies, they’re friends of mine. I shouldn’t tell you guys, you’ll say it’s terrible, I have a conflict of interest. They’re friends of mine, there are some right in the audience. One of them was just waving to me laughing and smiling. He’s not laughing so much anymore. Hi!
Rubio asked, what is your plan? I understand the lines around the states, whatever that means, this is not a game where you draw maps around. What is your plan? I’ll give him one minute of my time to tell me his plan. Trump said, the biggest problem he’s got is he really doesn’t know about the lines. Rubio said, we have already mentioned that as part of my plan. But what else is part of your plan? Trump kept going on about lines and competition. Rubio said, now he’s repeating himself. Trump said, I don’t repeat myself.
Rubio said, don’t repeat yourself? You repeat yourself every day! Trump said, I watched him repeat himself 5 times two weeks ago. Rubio said, I watched you repeat yourself 5 times 5 seconds ago. I watch him repeat himself every night. He says 5 things. Everyone’s dumb. He’s going to make America great again. We’re going to win, win, win. He’s winning in the polls. And the lines around the states. Every night! The crowd went nuts.
On to Carson, he said, first of all, health care is not a right. But I do believe it is a responsibility for a responsible society and we are that. We spend almost twice as much per capita on health care as many other nations who have much better access than we do. I propose a system in which we use health empowerment accounts, which are like a health savings account with no bureaucrats. We give it to everybody from birth until death. They can pass it on when they die. We pay for it with the same dollars we pay for traditional health care with. We give people the ability to shift money between health empowerment accounts within their family. It makes every family their own insurance carrier with no middle man. It gives you enormous flexibility.
Cruz said, this is another issue on which Donald and I have sharp disagreements. On Planned Parenthood he thinks Planned Parenthood is wonderful, I would instruct the Department of Justice to investigate them and prosecute any and all criminal violations. On Obamacare, both Donald and I say we want to end it, but for very different reasons. I want to end it, because it goes too far, it’s killed millions of jobs and it’s hurting peoples’ health care. Donald wants to end it, because it doesn’t go nearly far enough. What was amazing in that exchange that was missing is that for decades Donald has been advocating socialized medicine. He said the government should pay for everyone’s health care. In fact, a couple debates ago he said, if you don’t support socialized health care, you’re heartless. Liberal Democrats have been saying that for years. If you’re a small business owner, Donald Trump’s socialized medicine putting the government in charge of your health care would kill more jobs than Obamacare. If you’re elderly, the results of socialized medicine in every country on Earth where it’s been implemented, has been rationing, has been the government saying no, you don’t get that hip replacement, you don’t get that knee replacement. As President, I will repeal every word of Obamacare.
Trump said, I do not want socialized medicine. I do agree with him that it’s going to be a disaster, Obamacare, for the economy. In 2017 it’s going to be impossible for us to pay for it. Ted Cruz asked, Donald, true or false, you said the government should pay for everyone’s health care? Trump said, False. Cruz replied, you’ve never said that? Trump said, I’ve said it worked in a couple of countries. Cruz said, you’ve never stood on this debate stage and said, it works great in Canada and Scotland and we should do it here? Did you say, if you want people to die on the streets, if you don’t support socialized health care, you have no heart? Did you say you’re a liberal on health care? Trump said, let me talk. Cruz said, Explain your plan, please.
Trump said, we’re going to have private health care, but I will not allow people to die on the sidewalks and the streets of our country if I’m President. You may let it… Cruz asked, so would the government pay for everybody’s health care? Trump said, we’re going to take those people… Cruz replied, just answer the question. Trump said, we’re going to take those people and those people are going to be serviced by doctors and hospitals. We’re going to make great deals on it. But we’re not going to let ’em die in the streets. Cruz asked, Who pays for it?
Rubio said, this is a Republican debate, right? Because that attack about letting people die in the streets if the government doesn’t support health care? Cruz said, who’s going to pay for it? He’s refusing to answer that question. Trump said, call it what you want. Cruz replied, it’s a yes or no. Wolf said, you all agreed to the rules, we’re going to move on.
Wolf asked Trump how he would cut 10 trillion in taxes in over 10 years without saddling the country with more debt. Trump said, because we will become a dynamic economy. It will be dynamic again. If you look at what’s going on. We have the highest taxes anywhere in the world. We pay more business tax. We pay more personal tax. It’s shutting off our economy. It’s shutting off our country. We have trillions of dollars outside that we can’t get in. Yes, we will do my tax plan and it will be great. Wolf asked what specific cuts he would make to pay for the tax cuts. Trump said, the Department of Education, Common core is out, we’re going local. Have to go local. Environmental protection. We waste all of this money. We’re going to bring that back to the States. And we’re going to have other things. Many things. Waste, fraud and abuse in every agency. We will cut so much your head will spin.
Wolf said that Mitt Romney called on Trump to release his back tax records, because he has reason to believe there is a bombshell in them. He’s not as wealthy as he says he is, maybe he hasn’t paid the kind of taxes we would expect him to pay or he hasn’t been giving the money to veterans or disabled people. Are any of those accusations that he has leveled, true? Trump said, I was the first one to file a financial disclosure form. You don’t learn what anyone’s worth from tax returns you learn from statements. I filed, which shows that I’m worth over 10 billion dollars. I built a great company, with very little debt. The people were shocked. The people in the back were shocked when they went down. (Pointing to audience) For 12 years I get audited every year, audited, audited, audited. I will absolutely give my return, but I am being audited now for 2 or 3 years, so I can’t do it until the audit is finished.
Hugh Hewitt asked, Mr. Trump…? Trump asked, are you going to ask anybody else a questions? What am I? Every single question comes to me? I know I’m good for the ratings, but it’s a little bit ridiculous. Hewitt said, a year ago you told me on my radio show, that you would release your tax returns. Are you going back on your commitment? Trump said, first of all, very few people listen to your radio show, that’s the good news. Let me just tell you something. I want to release my tax returns. But I can’t release it while I’m under an audit. We’re under a routine audit. I’ve had it for years. As soon as the audit is done, I love it.
Hewitt said to Rubio, Mitt Romney also called on you to release your tax returns. When are you going to release your returns. Rubio said, tomorrow or Saturday. There is nothing that interesting in them, so I have no problem releasing them and luckily I am not being audited this year or last year for that matter.
Hewitt said, I am being fair to all the candidates. Senator Cruz, why haven’t the voters seen your 2012, 2013, and 2014 returns? Cruz said, so, I’ve released 5 years of tax returns already, we will have 2 more years available tomorrow. Donald says he’s being audited. Well, I would think that would underscore the need to release those returns. If he has said something that is false and that an audit is going to find was fraudulent, the voters need to know. He went on to explain Hillary’s great vulnerabilities, the corruption at the Clinton Foundation. He said, she had CEOs and foreign companies giving her money while she was Secretary of State. The next Republican nominee needs to be able to make that case against Hillary and if Donald tried to do it, Hillary would turn to Donald and say, but gosh Donald, you gave 100 thousand to the Clinton Foundation. I even went to your wedding. He can’t prosecute the case against Hillary and we can’t risk another 4 years of these failed Obama policies by nominating someone who loses to Hillary Clinton in November.
Trump responded by bringing up how well he is doing in polls. He said he hasn’t even started on Hillary yet and the polls show him beating her. Trump said, I only had one interchange, where she called me sexist and Bill and Hillary had a rough weekend that weekend.
Cruz said, Donald went on an extended tirade about the polls, but he didn’t respond to any of the substance. He has yet to say, he can release past years tax returns. He can do it tomorrow. He doesn’t want to do it. Because presumably there’s something in there that is bad. If there’s nothing release them tomorrow. They’re already prepared. The only reason he’s not releasing them is because he’s afraid that he’ll get hit. You know, Marco made reference earlier to the litigation against Trump University. It’s a fraud case. His lawyers have scheduled the trial for July. I want you to think about, if this man is the nominee, having the Republican nominee on the stand in court being cross examined about whether he committed fraud. You don’t think the main stream media will go crazy on that? On substance, how do we nominate a candidate who has said Hillary Clinton is the best Secretary of State of modern times, who agreed with her on foreign policy, who agrees with Bernie Sanders on health care, who agreed with Barack Obama on the Wall Street bail out? We’ve got to win this election and we can’t do it with a candidate who agrees with Hillary Clinton and can’t take it to her and beat her on the debate stage and at the polls.
Trump said, I’m beating him awfully bad in the polls. Cruz said, but you’re not beating Hillary. Trump said, let me just tell you. The Trump University case is a civil case. It’s a case that is nonsense. It’s something I could have settled many times, I could settle it right now for very little money, but I don’t want to do it out of principle. People who took the course signed report cards saying it was wonderful, it was fantastic, it was beautiful. Believe me, I’ll win that case, it’s an easy case. He then went back to saying that no one will blame him for not releasing taxes for the years he is being audited. Cruz asked him to release the years he’s not being audited for and asked what years he is being audited for? Trump responded, the last 4 or 5 years. Cruz asked, you don’t know what years you’re being audited for?
Wolf said he wanted to move on to national security and foreign policy. He said, Mr. Trump, I’ll begin with you. Trump said, shocking. Wolf asked, regarding the Israelis and Palestinians, I’m quoting you, “let me be sort of a neutral guy. I don’t want to say whose fault it is. I don’t think it helps.” How do you remain neutral when the U.S. considers Israel to be America’s closest ally in the Middle East?
Trump said, I think President Obama has treated Israel horribly. I was the grand marshal down 5th Avenue a number of years ago for the Israeli Day Parade. I have very close ties to Israel. I’ve received the Tree of Life award and many of the greatest awards given by Israel. As President however, there’s nothing I would rather do than to bring peace to Israel and its neighbors generally. I think it serves no purpose to say that you have a good guy and a bad guy.
Cruz said, this is another area on which Donald agrees with Hillary Clinton. Both Donald and Hillary Clinton want to be neutral, to use Donald’s word. If I’m President, America will stand unapologetically with the Nation of Israel. The notion of neutrality is based on the left buying into this moral relativism that is often pitched in the media. Listen, it is not equivalent when you have terrorists strapping dynamite around their chest, exploding and murdering innocent women and children. They are not equivalent to the IDF officers protecting Israel. I will not pretend that they are. Just today Iran announced they’re going to pay $7,000 to each suicide bomber. Missing from Donald’s answer was anything he has done in his nearly 70 years of living, defending Israel. I have over and over again, lead the fight to defend Israel, to fight for Israel. If you want to know who will stand with Israel we ought to start with, who has stood with Israel when the heat was on?
Trump said, I can only say, I’ve been a big contributor to Israel over the years. I’ve received many, many awards from Israel. I have a great relationship with Israel. I’m going to keep it that way and if I could bring peace, that would be a fantastic thing.
Kasich said, I was in Congress for 18 years and on the Defense Committee. After 9/11 the Secretary of Defense called me in.
Wolf asked Rubio, what’s wrong with being an honest broker as Mr. Trump is proposing? Rubio said, because, and I don’t know if Donald realizes this, but the position you’ve taken is an anti-Israel position. Here’s why. You cannot be an honest broker in a dispute between two sides in which one of the sides is constantly acting in bad faith. The Palestinian Authority has walked away from countless offers to make peace. Very generous offers from the Israelis. Instead, they teach their 4 year old children that killing Jews is a glorious thing. I will be on a side. I will be on Israel’s side every single day, because they are the only pro-American, free enterprise democracy in the Middle East.
Trump said, I am a negotiator. I have done very well over the years through negotiation. It’s very important that we do that. In all fairness, Marco is not a negotiator. I watched him melt down and I tell you it was one of the saddest things I’ve ever seen. Rubio broke in, he thinks Palestinian is a real estate deal. The Palestinians are not a real estate deal, Donald. Trump said, a deal is a deal, let me tell you. Rubio said, it’s not a deal when you’re dealing with terrorists. Have you ever negotiated with terrorists? Trump said, you will never bring peace, you will never bring peace. Rubio said, Donald might be able to build condos in a Palestinian area, but this is not a real estate deal.
Wolf said, Governor Kasich, you have talked about regime change in North Korea. Are you talking about getting rid of Kim Jong Un? Kasich said, when you talk about regime change, that’s what it means, regime change. We should be intercepting the ships from North Korea, so they’re not selling this material or technology or giving it to someone else. Same goes with the aircraft. We need to slap even tougher sanctions on North Korea. We need to talk about arming South Korea with ballistic missile technology and of course also Japan. The Chinese are the best way to calm that regime down and get them in a position of where they back off. Wolf asked if he would risk war for regime change. Kasich said, Wolf, it would depend on what was happening, what the situation was. If there was an opportunity to remove the leader of North Korea and create stability, I tell ya, you keep kicking the can down the road, we’re going to face this sooner or later. I have put it on the table that I would like to see regime change in North Korea. Perhaps the Chinese can accomplish that with this man who is now the leader.
Trump said, we can no longer afford to defend all these countries, Japan, Germany, South Korea. You order televisions, you order almost anything, you’re getting it from these countries. Whether it’s a Mercedes Benz or whether it’s an air conditioning unit. They are making a fortune. Saudi Arabia… We are defending Saudi Arabia. Before the oil went down they were making 1 billion dollars a day. We defend all of these countries for peanuts. You talk about budgets. We have to start getting reimbursed for taking care of the military services for all of these countries.
Wolf asked Carson what he would do about North Korea. Carson said, well first of all, people say that I whine a lot because I don’t get time. I’m going to whine. I didn’t get asked about taxes. I didn’t get asked about Israel. Hugh, you said you’re going to be fair to everybody. You didn’t ask me about taxes. I had something to say about that. We have a system of taxation in this country that is horribly wrong. You know, I never had an audit until I spoke at the National Prayer Breakfast. Then all of a sudden, they came in. They said we just want to look at your real estate dealings. And then, they didn’t find anything, so they said let’s look at the whole year. They didn’t find anything, so they said let’s look at the next year and the next year. And they didn’t find anything and they won’t find anything, because I’m a very honest person. But the fact of the matter is, the IRS is not honest and we need to get rid of them. As far as Israel is concerned, when I was there several months ago, I talked to a lot of people. I couldn’t find a single one who didn’t think that we had turned our backs on Israel. They are a strategic partner for us. But also recognize that we have a Judeo-Christian foundation. The last thing we need to do is reject Israel. Doesn’t mean that we can’t be fair to other people. We can always be fair to other people. Now, as far as North Korea is concerned. Kim Jong Un is an unstable person. But he does understand strength. I think we have to present strength to him. We should be encouraging the alliance with Japan and South Korea. We should be encouraging the placement of the THAAD. The Terminal high altitude area defense. Because that seems to disturb not only the North Koreans, but the Chinese as well. We also need to have a much more robust naval presence. I think we need to be developing a strategic defense initiative, because this man is going to have long range missiles. He is going to have nuclear capability. We need to be able to defend ourselves. Lastly, we should make sure that he knows that if he ever shoots a missile at us it will be the last thing he ever does.
After a bit of a back and forth over Middle east policies, Kasich tried to get in. Wolf said that Cruz attacked Trump, so he gets to respond. Donald Trump said, there is no one up here who has done more for Israel than me. Cruz said, name one thing. Trump said, these are politicians, all talk and no action. He called Trump a liar and Rubio something that was incoherent. Rubio said, this is the typical thing he does. Any debate about policy he goes right for the outrageous statements. Carson said, could somebody attack me please? Kasich rambled on about Obama for a minute, then Cruz got a response, because Trump called him a liar. He said, what you’re seeing with Donald is actually the pattern of Washington. The pattern of Washington deal makers, which is they make promises, they break their words, and then when anyone calls them on it, they call you a liar. That’s Donald’s pattern over and over. And he’s said for example, 7 months ago, quote, I Donald Trump was a member of the establishment. There’s a reason Harry Reid thinks he’s the best Republican up here. There’s a reason Jimmy Carter said he would support Donald Trump over me, because he said, Donald Trump is malleable. He has no fixed set of beliefs, whereas Ted Cruz is not malleable. And any time someone points at Donald’s actual record, what he said on national television, Donald yells liar. Falsely accusing someone of lying is itself a lie and something Donald does daily.
Trump said, I watched what this man did to Dr. Ben Carson, who I respect, in Iowa. He said that Ben Carson is out of the race, he has left Iowa and he’s out of the race. And I thought it was disgraceful. I also watched how he did this form and it said, voter violation and it graded you. It scared the he** out of people. I know politicians better than you do and believe me that’s not good. Cruz said, oh, I believe you know politicians much better than I do, because for 40 years you’ve been funding liberal, Democratic politicians. They argued back and forth incomprehensibly.
Wolf Blitzer brought up the phone the FBI wants Apple to unlock. The phone can’t be unlocked. It’s encrypted with AES-256 encryption. The FBI wants a backdoor created that would make every phone vulnerable and make encryption useless. A clear violation of the 4th amendment as well as many other constitutional violations. Dana Bash said to Rubio, you say it’s complicated and Apple isn’t necessarily wrong to refuse the court order. Why shouldn’t investigators have everything at their disposal? Rubio said, no, what I said is that the only thing the FBI is asking of Apple is that Apple allow then to use their own systems in the FBI to try to guess the password of the San Bernardino killer. Apple came out and said, we’re being ordered to create a back door for an encryption device. That is not accurate. Yes it is, Marco. The only thing the FBI asked them to do is disable the self destruct mode that’s in the Apple phone, so that we can try to guess, using our own systems, what the password of this killer was. And I think they should comply with that. Impossible, Marco. You obviously have no knowledge of the issue. The self destruct mode can’t be disabled without the creation of a backdoor that exploits the devices ability to update to install a hack to disable that self destruct mode.
Dana Bash said to Cruz, CEO Tim Cook says this would be bad for America. Where do you stand, national security or personal privacy? Well as you know, at the same CNN forum, both Marco and I were asked this question, his answer, he was on both sides of the fence, he’s now agreeing with me. What I said was yes, Apple should be forced to comply with this court order. Why? Because under the 4th Amendment a search and seizure is reasonable if it has judicial authorization and probable cause. In this instance, the order is not, put a back door in everyone’s cell phone. If that was the order, that order would be problematic as it would compromise security and safety for everyone. Cruz doesn’t get this either. It does compromise security and safety for everyone. They can’t hack the one phone without creating something that can be used on any phone. All the phones are the same. All it would take is one dishonest Apple employee to leak the hack. He continued, I would agree with Apple on that broad policy question, but the question of unlocking this cell phone of a terrorist we should enforce the court order and find out everyone that terrorist talked to on the phone, texted with, e-mailed and absolutely Apple doesn’t have a right to defy a valid court order in a terrorism investigation. Following the court order without creating a back door that would work on every phone is impossible.
Carson said, I think allowing terrorists to get away with things is bad for America. We have a Constitution. We have the 4th Amendment, but we have mechanisms in place with the judicial system that will allow us to gain material that is necessary to benefit the nation as a whole or the community as a whole. It’s very clear that the candidates do not understand the first thing about the technology they are talking about. So absolutely, I would expect Apple to comply with the court order. If they don’t comply with that, you’re encouraging chaos in our system.
Kasich said, the problem is not right now between the administration and Apple, you know what the problem is? Where has the President been? You sit down in a back room and you sit down with the parties and you get this worked out. You don’t litigate this on the front page of the New York Times where everybody in the world is reading about the dirty laundry out here. Right, John. You keep it from Americans when you violate their rights. Do it in secret. That’s what government is for, right? We shouldn’t let We the People discuss a privacy issue, we should spy on them in secret. The President of the United States should have convened a meeting with Apple and our security forces and then you know what you do when you’re the President? You lock the door. And you say you’re not coming out until you reach an agreement. That’s why you want a governor. I do this all the time!
Ben Carson: First of all, I want people to think about, what kind of leader do you want and what kind of person do you want your kids to emulate? Think about that. Secondly, several years ago a movie was made about these hands. These hands by the grace of God, have saved many lives and healed many families. Now I’m asking you tonight, America, to join hands with me, to heal, inspire and revive America. If not us, who? And if not now, when?
John Kasich: The last USA Today poll had me beating Hillary Clinton by 11 points. More than anybody on this stage. Secondly, I hope you saw tonight that executive experience really matters. It matters in terms of growing our economy, balancing budgets, cutting taxes, reforming regulations. I’ve done it in Washington. I’ve done it in Ohio. And I can go back to Washington and do it again, but I hope you also noticed tonight that I do have the foreign policy experience. Not just a few years, but a lot of years in working with some of the great, great minds in this country to develop the expertise, the confidence, the firmness, the toughness, and the ability to bring people together. I hope you all think about giving me your vote. I would appreciate it very much and I tell you, we won’t have to spend time figuring out what we’re going to do. I will hit the ground running and we will get America moving again. Thank you all very much.
Marco Rubio: Thank you for having us tonight. You know this campaign has come a long way. It was just a few months ago there were 15 or 11 of us on the stage and now it’s narrowing. The votes are starting to count and we have an incredible decision to make. Not just about the direction of America, but the identity of our party and the conservative movement. The time for games is over. I know you’ve had a lot of choices to make, but now it’s time to narrow it down and I’m asking you to get behind me. Go on our web site and join our effort, MarcoRubio.com. So we can bring an end to this silliness, this looniness. And once again embrace all the things that made America and the Republican Party the bearer of the Conservative movement in this country.
Ted Cruz: Washington deals are bankrupting this country. There are several deal makers on this stage, but there is only one person who has consistently stood up to both parties fighting for the American people against the Washington deals. If I am elected President on the first day in office, I will rescind every single illegal and unconstitutional executive action. I will instruct the Department of Justice to open an investigation into Planned Parenthood and prosecute any criminal violation. I will instruct every federal agency that the persecution of religious liberty ends today. I will rip to shreds the Iranian, catastrophic Iranian nuclear deal. I will begin the process of moving the American embassy in Israel to Jerusalem. We will repeal Obamacare, abolish the IRS, secure the border and bring back jobs.
Donald Trump: Thank you. Nobody knows politicians better than I do. They’re all talk, they’re no action. Nothing gets done. I’ve watched it for years. Take a look at what’s happening to our country. All of the things that I’ve been talking about whether it’s trade, whether it’s building up our depleted military, whether it’s taking care of our vets, whether it’s getting rid of Common Core, which is a disaster. Or knocking out Obamacare and coming up with something so much better. I will get it done. Politicians will never, ever get it done. And we will make America great again.
Well, everyone was predicting that Rubio and Cruz would attack each other all night, but it seems more like Marco had it out for Trump and if anything they tag teamed him. While I’m not calling a winner, Trump was definitely on defense all night and Carson & Kasich never really made an impact.
AMP (Anna Maria Perez)
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