Businessman Donald Trump is not a credible Republican presidential candidate because he has donated to several Democrats’ campaigns in the past,Texas Senator Ted Cruz '92 argued in the Republican debate on Thursday.
Both Cruz and Florida Senator Marco Rubio also noted that Trump had employed illegal immigrants on his properties, pointing out as well that he had funded the “Gang of Eight,” which offers individuals a path to citizenship. They asserted that this contradicts Trump's promise to deport all illegal immigrants and return jobs to American workers.
"Marco is exactly right that a federal court found Donald guilty of being part of a conspiracy to hire people illegally and entered a $1 million judgment against him,” Cruz said.
Trump retorted that Cruz is disliked by his colleagues in the Senate, adding that he has very little support from fellow lawmakers in Washington D.C.
“You don't have one Republican senator backing you,” Trump said.
Cruz later argued that Trump would not be a feasible Republican presidential nominee because he refuses to release his tax statements, despite promising to do so earlier on. Trump said he couldn't release the documents because he is currently the subject of an ongoing tax audit.
Trump was criticized by fellow candidates for his position on Planned Parenthood. While he promised to defund the program, he also acknowledged that many women had benefited from the programs offered in the clinics.
Cruz, on the other hand, took a strong stance against government-funded healthcare programs, arguing that President Barack Obama's "Obamacare" program is a failed law that needs to be removed.
"I will repeal every word of Obamacare," Cruz said.
Rubio said that Trump does not have the qualifications to become president.
“If he hadn't inherited $200 million, you know where Donald Trump would be right now? Selling watches in Manhattan," Rubio said.
Rubio continued to attack Trump, arguing that he does not provide any clear plans for the the country, but instead repeats the same few ideas.
"He says five things: Everyone’s dumb, he’s going to make America great again. Win, win, win, he’s winning in the polls. And the lines around the states. Every night. Same thing,” he said.
When asked about recent controversy over the government’s request for Apple to unlock the San Bernardino shooter’s iPhone, Cruz argued that Apple should not be placed above the law.
“Yes, Apple should be forced to comply with this court order,” Cruz said.
Cruz argued that the court order is valid under the Fourth Amendment, and that this situation is different because unlocking a terrorist’s phone does not mean that every phone will therefore be unlocked.
Neurosurgeon Ben Carson and Ohio Governor John Kasich were not as involved in the attacks against Trump. They focused on the qualities a strong president should have and noted that health care programs should be reformed.
Carson urged debate-watchers to join hands with him in order to heal the nation.
"Americans know that our nation is heading off the abyss of destruction," he said.
Kasich was briefly criticized for his mixed record on gay rights, but he spoke out against business owners being able to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation.
After the debate, Cruz commended Rubio for his performance during the debate, adding that Rubio was not his enemy in the presidential race.
“I’m glad for Marco, he did something new tonight — he stood up and attacked Donald Trump,” he said.
The debate, which took place at 8:30 p.m. EST in Houston, Texas, was moderated by CNN political anchor Wolf Blitzer, along with CNN reporter Dana Bash, Telemundo’s María Celeste Arrarás and conservative talk radio host Hugh Hewitt. The debate was sponsored by CNN, Telemundo and Salem Communications.