You don’t build a real estate empire, or breeze through 14 seasons of a semi-hit television show without knowing how to generate some buzz. The anticipation had been building in the days leading up to last night’s preliminary debate among the top ten Republican presidential hopefuls. Everyone had high hopes that Donald Trump, the wild-card-yet-also-frontrunner, would lead the way in putting on a great show. Ladies and gentlemen; you asked for it, you got it!
For a participant who made pre-debate headlines by letting it be known that he was going to ‘wing it,’ it’s safe to say Trump’s performance definitely matched his preparation. The beauty of this guy is that every time he spoke (totaling 12 minutes of talking time — the most, since you asked), there was an opportunity to grab a real gem of a quote. For your reading pleasure, we recap some of Donald Trump’s most memorable attempts at being taken seriously as a GOP candidate for the 2016 election.
Fireworks started when Fox News moderator Brett Baer decided to throw out an early hunk of red meat; asking the debate participants:
“Is there anyone on stage, and can I see hands, who is unwilling tonight to pledge your support to the eventual nominee of the Republican party? And pledge to not run an independent campaign against that person?”
As if they didn’t already know the answer…
Trump raised his hand, and responded to his refusal to pledge by saying:
“I’m talking about a lot of leverage. I want to win and we will win.”
He added additional thoughts later; tied in to the reason he raised that hand:
“I can’t say that I have to respect that person who wins…If I’m the nominee, I pledge I will not run as an independent.”
Some of Trump’s less outrageous remarks also served to create some memorable one-liners. Of President Obama, he had this quip:
“I would say he’s incompetent, but I don’t want to do that, because that’s not nice.”
When responding to foreign policy, Trump dished some investment advice:
“If Iran was a stock, you should go out and buy it right now, ’cause you’ll quadruple.”
When fielding a question on his past as a Democrat, and switching to become Republican:
“I’ve evolved on many issues over the years and you know who else has? Ronald Reagan.”
Fox News anchor, and debate moderator, Megyn Kelly touched a nerve when she pressed Trump on his comments about women, saying, “You’ve called women you don’t like ‘fat pigs’ ‘dogs’ ‘slobs’ and ‘disgusting animals.’” To which trump interjected:
“Only Rosie O’Donnell.”
Continuing his thoughts on past remarks towards women, and general nature for speaking his mind:
“I think the big problem this country has is being politically correct. …I’ve been challenged by so many people and I don’t, frankly, have time for total political correctness. And to be honest with you, this country doesn’t have time, either. …And frankly, what I say, and oftentimes it’s fun, it’s kidding. We have a good time.”
Kelly later pressed him again, concerning the words he chooses to throw at his dissenters — causing Trump to throw up his arms and respond:
“Honestly, Megyn, if you don’t like it, I’m sorry. I’ve been very nice to you, although I could probably not be based on the way you have treated me. But I wouldn’t do that.”
As a businessman, Trump has concerns about where America ranks in business. When questioned about this, he explained:
“Our country is in serious trouble. We don’t win anymore. We don’t beat China in trade. We don’t beat Japan … in trade. We can’t beat Mexico at the border or in trade.”
Later, Trump offered up a glimpse into his plans to combat illegal immigration:
“We need to build a wall and it has to be built quickly. And I don’t mind having a big, beautiful door in that wall so that people can come into this country legally.”
Finally, as Trump was pushed past his breaking point on his previous quotes on illegal immigration, he had this to say:
“Our leaders are stupid. Our politicians are stupid. And the Mexican government is much smarter, much sharper, much more cunning, and they send the bad ones over because they don’t wanna pay for them, they don’t wanna take care of them, why should they when the stupid leaders of the United States are doing it for them?”
If Americans tuned in to watch a candidate speak his mind on the issues presented, Trump definitely did well to capture that spirit. He set out to ‘wing it,’ and speak ‘off the cuff’ in an attempt to break the facade of the lifeless suit and tie most folks have come to expect. Whether or not he will continue leading in the polls, thus becoming the Republican nominee, is going to be an ongoing, albeit entertaining, battle.
As we all look ahead to this ongoing battle, we can look to Donald Trump’s advice on what America needs most:
“We Need Brain.”
There’s your hashtag, folks.