The Republican debate of Thursday was held without its usual drama and without the controversial businessman, Donald Trump. His absence was mocked by his Republican rivals, who tried to fill the space vacated by Trump’s boycott by attacking each other on immigration and other issues. Trump decided to withdraw after Fox News refused to drop debate host Megyn Kelly, whom he accused of bias. The debate was held in preparation for the Iowa caucus of Feb 1, where the Republican hopefuls will slug it out among themselves to get the first victory in the party’s primary. Trump’s rally in honor of war veterans threatened to overshadow the debate. “When you’re treated badly, you have to stick up for your rights,” he said, referring to his row with Fox.
Trump wanted Fox to beg him
It was gathered that several calls were made to Trump about his decision to boycott the debate, but he stuck to his decision. According to the BBC, the broadcaster released a statement that said Mr Trump offered to appear at the debate if Fox contributed $5m to his charities, but they refused. Data released by Google after the debate suggested that search interest in Donald Trump still far surpassed his other rivals. The Republican candidates kept their balance and stayed on their talking points. It looks like the unconventional Trump’s absence from the hall made everyone a bit more restrained.
Republicans mock Trump
Texas Senator Ted Cruz addressed his absence with humour in the opening minutes by throwing mock insults at his rivals. “I’m a maniac and everyone on this stage is stupid, fat and ugly, and Ben [Carson], you’re a terrible surgeon,” he said.