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9 standout quotes from the Republican debate (And Donald Trump was responsible for five of them)

'Two days ago, Jeb Bush said he would take his pants off and moon everybody'


Matt Broomfield
Sunday 14 February 2016 14:32 GMT
Donald Trump once more dominated the Republican debate in South Carolina
Donald Trump once more dominated the Republican debate in South Carolina (Getty)

The Republican presidential debate on Saturday was the most heated and controversial to date. Donald Trump once more took centre stage, as a South Carolina audience watched the billionaire tycoon trade insults and vitriol with his rivals.

Despite appeals for calm from the hosts, the debate was littered with provocative statements, most (but not all) from the mouth of party front-runner Trump. These nine quotes sum up the action:

1) "Not using profanity is very easy" - Donald Trump

Lately, Trump has been promising to conduct himself in a more presidential manner. He opened the debate by repeating a promise he made in a speech earlier this week, vowing not to use swearwords any more as it gave the media too much ammo to attack him.

He has previously said he would "bomb the sh*t" out of ISIS, told American companies who outsource labour overseas to "go f*ck themselves" and called rival candidate Ted Cruz a "p*ssy".

2) "Two questions already, this is great" - Ben Carson

Carson's campaign has faded into anonymity, and it is only a matter of time before he drops out of the race all together. But he has displayed good humour about his failure to win the attention of voters or the media, sarcastically thanking debate moderator John Dickerson for including him in proceedings.

3) "Two days ago, he said he would take his pants off and moon everybody" - Donald Trump to Jeb Bush

Trump's apparent non-sequitur refers to an interview Bush gave to the Boston Globe. Bush's lacklustre campaign has attracted scanty media attention, and Bush told the Globe that even if he dropped his pants and "moon[ed] the whole crowd" the "press guys" would still ignore him.

As ever, Trump's comment bore only a passing relationship to the truth. Nonetheless, Bush was forced to issue a disclaimer: "for the record, I didn't say that I was going to moon somebody."

4) "[Your mother] should be running" - Donald Trump to Jeb Bush

Prior to the debate, Trump had criticised 63-year-old Bush for running campaign ads starring his 90-year-old mother Barbara Bush. "[M]om can't help you with ISIS, the Chinese or with Putin," he wrote on Twitter.

The beleagured Bush addressed these attacks during the debate on Saturday, adding: "My mom is the strongest woman I know." "She should be running," Trump quickly responded.

5) "He doesn't speak Spanish" - Marco Rubio to Ted Cruz

6) "Vato si quieres dicelo ahora mismo, dicelo ahora en español, si quieres" - Ted Cruz to Marco Rubio

If elected, either Cruz or Rubio would be the first Hispanic or Latino President of the US. Both are vying for a share of the 27 million votes available from the traditionally liberal Latino population, and while Rubio speaks fluent Spanish, Cruz freely admits his own Spanish is "lousy".

This attack was thus an attempt to tarnish Cruz's Latino credentials. Cruz's response was halting and difficult for even native Spanish-speakers to comprehend, but it roughly translates as: "Dude, if you want to tell them now, tell them now in Spanish, if you want."

7) "How did [George Bush] keep us safe when the World Trade Center went down?" - Donald Trump to Jeb Bush

Trump was booed by the crowd after blaming the 9/11 terrorist attacks on Jeb Bush's older brother and former president George Bush. "I lost hundreds of friends,” he continued amid the catcalls. “The World Trade Center went down during the reign of George Bush. He kept us safe? That is not safe."

He went on to describe the invasion of Iraq in 2003 as a "big, fat mistake," saying: "They lied. They said there were weapons of mass destruction. And there were none."

8) "You are the single biggest liar. You probably are worse than Jeb Bush. This guy lied. He's a nasty guy" - Donald Trump to Ted Cruz

Trump's remarks are typical of the mudslinging which characterised large stretches of the debate. Cruz had accused Trump of wanting to provide federal support to Planned Parenthood, the non-profit reproductive health organisation which is despised by many socially conservative voters for its provision of abortion services.

In the confrontation that followed, Trump repeatedly called Cruz a liar, before accusing Cruz of harrassing voters with automated "robo-calls". Trump also described Planned Parenthood's provision of "women's health" services as "wonderful", but said he "drew the line" at abortion.

9) "People are, frankly, sick of the negative campaigning" - John Kasich

Both Ohio Governor Kasich and the former neurosurgeon Carson made appeals for calm and decorum during the debate. Kasich won cheers from the audience when noting that "people want to see unity," and again when arguing that Hillary Clinton would find it easy to defeat a presidential candidate emerging from the wreckage of such a fractious campaign.

As these quotes show, his call for civility was totally ignored.

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