When given the chance by moderators, John Kasich and Marco Rubio passed on attacking Donald Trump during the Republican debate. Ditto for Jeb Bush, whom Trump called “a gentleman.” But three other candidates had no such qualms.
Both Rand Paul and Rick Perry slammed Trump for previously supporting government-run health care. When Trump defended single-payer systems that “work” in Canada and other countries, Paul let him have it.
“Newsflash,” Paul interjected, “the Republican Party has been fighting against a single-payer system for over a decade now. So I think you’re on the wrong side of this if you’re still arguing for single-payer.”
Trump joked that he thought Paul misheard him, but Trump clearly said that a single-payer system could work in America “in a different age.”
Rick Perry also called into question Trump’s past support for a government-run health care system in the earlier debate.
“He is using his celebrity rather than his conservatism,” Perry declared. “How can you run for the Republican nomination and be for single-payer health care?”
Carly Fiorina also did not mince words.
“I didn’t get a phone call from Bill Clinton before I jumped in the race,” Carly Fiorina said, referring to a recent report that Clinton called Trump when he was considering a run for President.
“Did any of you get a phone call from Bill Clinton?” Fiorina asked the other candidates on the stage. “Maybe it’s because I haven’t given to the family’s foundation or donated to his wife’s Senate campaign.”
Trump has a long history of associating with the Clintons and made several donations to Hillary Clinton’s political campaigns and the Clinton Foundation. When Trump refused to answer whether he would run as a third party candidate at the start of the debate, Paul called him out for donating to leftists.
“This is what’s wrong. He buys and sells politicians of all stripes,” Paul said. “He’s already hedging his bets on the Clintons, okay? So if he doesn’t run as a Republican, maybe he supports Clinton, or maybe he runs as an independent. He’s used to buying politicians.”
“Since he has changed his mind on amnesty, health care, and abortion,” said Fiorina, “I would just ask what are the principles by which he will govern?”