Senators Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz clashed sharply over the issues of immigration and national security during the Republican Party Presidential debate on Tuesday night, pushing their growing animosity into the forefront of the race for the Presidential nomination, while controversial frontrunner Donald Trump refused to back down on his calls for a ban on Muslim immigration to the US, insisting that the issue is about security rather than religion.
Former Governor of Florida Jeb Bush, meanwhile, seemed more confident than has previously been the case in such debates, though his campaign remains sluggish. This was the first prime-time Republican debate in the wake of the terrorist attacks in Paris and on home soil in San Bernardino in California, events that have created a political firestorm over national security and incensed the already explosive immigration debate.
Trump’s controversial statements continued to dominate the debate and its aftermath, with Bush continuing to insist that the billionaire is “not a serious candidate” and accusing him of garnering attention by playing on fear. Despite the attacks from within his own party, however, Trump has pledged that, should he not win the nomination, he will not leave the Republican Party and run for President as an independent.
Cruz and Rubio were less interested in criticizing Trump, with the former even saying he understood why the real estate magnet mentioned the idea of stopping Muslim immigration to the US and criticizing Rubio for his support of immigration reform allowing for the legalization of undocumented immigrants.