When Donald Trump walked in to the Reagan Library last week for the second Republican Debate, he was still the frontrunner. When he walked out three hours later, many viewers thought he lost the debate, and possibly his frontrunner status.
This is because his opponents weren’t afraid to jab at him. A ten-to-one debate, almost every candidate had some attack against him and took the vigor out of him.
The most memorable jab of the night was Carly Fiorina’s. After Trump said in a Rolling Stone Magazine interview, “Look at that face! Would anyone vote for that?,” Fiorina struck back in the debate. Fiorina said, “I think women all over this country heard very clearly what Trump said,” forcing Trump to take back his comments for the first time as a presidential candidate.
Jeb Bush also had some aggressive remarks against Trump. After Trump asserted that Bush’s “brother’s administration gave us Barack Obama, because it was such a disaster,” Bush defended his brother, insisting that “he kept us safe.” There was no retort from Trump, highly unusual behavior from the billionaire businessman.
Trump was even silenced by lower polling candidates. Governor Chris Christie chided both Fiorina and Trump for “focusing on their own careers rather than on Americans who are struggling.”
In addition to being unable to hit back at his opponents, when he did speak, many of his policies were refuted effectively. Trump, when asked about Bush’s interview in Spanish, said, “This is a country where we speak English, not Spanish.”
Bush and Marco Rubio, both Spanish speakers, fought back, saying, “If a high school kid asks me a question in Spanish, I’m going to show respect and answer that question in Spanish,” and, “I want them to hear [statements] directly from me, not from a translator at Univision.” Both comments drew loud applause, leaving Trump with the unpopular view on the issue.
In essence, Donald Trump was effectively run circles around. In addition to being attacked and refuted by many of the candidates, Trump stood silent for almost 30 minutes at one point in the debate. The other candidates, by focusing most of their energy on attacking him, didn’t give Trump much to work with in the debate, and therefore didn’t impress many people.