The Republicans met for yet another debate, this time in New Hampshire, ahead of the primary in that state. Unlike the last debate, Donald Trump showed up for this one. He may have seen that skipping the last one did not help him. His whining that he didn’t attend because of Megyn Kelly is disingenuous, at best. Politifact rates his statement on that as false.
But that’s old news as the election moved from the midwest to the northeast. Three days before the New Hampshire primary, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Ben Carson, Sen. Ted Cruz, Donald Trump, Sen. Marco Rubio, former Florida governor Jeb Bush and Ohio Gov. John Kasich met to debate yet again.
Trump was a bit more sedate in his return (after blowing his entrance) but still lied and bullied his way through the evening. When asked if he had the temperament to be Commander-in-Chief, Trump gave a self-aggrandizing answer:
I built a massive corporation. I employ thousands and thousands of people. I’ve gotten along with people for years and years, have tremendous relationships with many people, including politicians on both sides.
Vague, much? But that’s how the Donald rolls; nebulous statements which are meant to make him look good. But he did say one specific thing, something that isn’t true:
I’m the only one up here, when the war of Iraq — in Iraq, I was the one that said, ‘Don’t go, don’t do it, you’re going to destabilize the Middle East.’ So, I’m not one with a trigger.
Well, not so much. He may have said something like that after the fact, but the first time he spoke out against the Iraq war was after the invasion in March of 2003.
Responding to Ted Cruz’s rambling answer to whether or not Trump had the temperament to be CoC, Trump went back to one of his favorite themes:
We’re going to win with Trump. We’re going to win. We don’t win anymore. Our country doesn’t win anymore. We’re going to win with Trump.
There he goes again, pandering to the segment of the electorate that thinks this is some kind of sports competition. Win, win, blah, blah, win. Trump went at China again when North Korea was brought up. Trump, you see, understands the Chinese. He knows that they control North Korea. He understands the Chinese because…
I deal with the Chinese all of the time. I do tremendous — the largest bank in the world is in one of my buildings in Manhattan.
Great non sequitur, there. But as far as North Korea goes? Trump thinks China should deal with them. Yeah, that’ll work.
When the topic of Obamacare came up, Trump repeated the same old, tired “repeal and replace” song, one of the GOP’s favorite tunes. Even though none of them have proposed a viable replacement. Though Trump does promise something “so much better.” See? Vague.
Then the concept of eminent domain came up and the fight was on. Trump was asked about his statement that he “loved” eminent domain. In New Hampshire, the subject is in the news because of a hydro-electric project that could use eminent domain to be completed. Trump said that, without eminent domain, we’d have no “roads, highways, schools, bridges or anything.” We need eminent domain, Trump argued, then added that, when people have their property seized, they get “a fortune.”
Jeb! took the opportunity to attack Trump on this, arguing that Trump had used eminent domain to…
…try to take the property of an elderly woman on the strip in Atlantic City. That is not public purpose, that is downright wrong.
Trump interrupted, saying that Jeb! was trying to be a “tough guy,” and that he, Trump, had not taken the property. I have to quote the transcript here:
BUSH: And the net result was — you tried.
TRUMP: I didn’t take the property.
BUSH: And you lost in the court.
TRUMP: The woman ultimately didn’t want to do that. I walked away.
BUSH: That is not true. And the simple fact is to turn this into a limousine parking lot for his casinos is a not public use.
TRUMP: Well, let me just — you know, he wants to be a tough guy. A lot of times, you’ll have — you’ll have — and it didn’t work very well.
BUSH: How tough it is to take away property from an elderly woman?
TRUMP: A lot of time — let me talk. Quiet. A lot of times — a lot of times…
BUSH: How tough it is to take away a property from an elderly woman?
TRUMP: … you — let me talk. Let me talk. Quiet. A lot of times…
At this, there was a chorus of boos from the audience, prompting Trump to label them as Bush’s “donors and special interests, the people that (sic) are putting up the money.” There was a bit more back and forth between Trump and Jeb! as to whether the Keystone Pipeline was private or public use. Trump correctly said it was private, while Jeb! insisted it was public. But look back over that exchange again. Trump’s condescending “Quiet,” is not something we need from a president. Imagine if he did that to a head of state.
In his closing statement, Trump reiterated his greatest hits. With one added riff. Trump went last, after Ted Cruz, who touted his Iowa win. Trump took the chance to sting Cruz, then continued his usual non-specific rhetoric:
That’s because he got Ben Carson’s votes, by the way, but we won’t (inaudible). Our country that we love so much doesn’t win anymore. We don’t win with the military, we don’t win on the border… If I’m elected president, we will win, and we will win, and we will win.
Donald Trump has rated a measly 23% with Politifact on telling the truth. That leaves seventy-seven percent as mostly false, false or pants on fire. Apparently, that only bothers a small percentage of voters, since they keep supporting Trump.
The next GOP debate in on February 13th. It’s a sure bet that Trump will continue to lie and bully because it works for him.
All quotes courtesy of the Washington Post’s great transcript.
Featured image by Gage Skidmore via Flickr