Donald Trump gave and took attacks at the outset of the GOP presidential debate, again drawing huge laughs as he delivered one liners against his rivals.
Eleven candidates squared off in the main event — CNN’s coverage of the second presidential debate from the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library.
“First of all, Rand Paul should not even be on the stage. He’s number 11,” Trump said, referring to Paul’s position in polls in answering the first question, about whether he could be trusted to handle national security as president.
“Believe me, my temperament is very good, very calm,” Trump said.
Paul called Trump’s attack a “non-sequitur,” and said that there was a “sophomoric quality” that is “entertaining about Mr. Trump.” He slammed Trump for attacking candidates’ personal characteristics.
“I never attacked him on his looks, and believe me there is plenty of subject matter right there,” Trump responded, drawing big laughs in the press area.
Scott Walker said that an “apprentice” wasn’t needed, because “we already have one in the White House.”
One candidate who, at least at the outset, restrained her attacks on Trump was Carly Fiorina. Trump was quoted in a Rolling Stone article ridiculing her face, but she did not address the remark, instead labeling him a “great entertainer.”
In their intros to the audience, some of the candidates seem to try to outdo each other in cleverness, with Mike Huckabee making a 1980s flashback calling the GOP field the “A Team” and Trump as “Mr. T,” because he is not afraid of calling anyone “a fool.”
It reflected a debate that has drawn coverage from the political and pop culture media, with one-time congressional candidate Clay Aiken covering for E! and a Funny or Die correspondent gathering material.