Hours before the start of the debate Thursday night, former 2012 Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney addressed a crowd of conservatives in Utah.
This, as evidenced by poll numbers, has not worked, and, last week, Florida Senator Marco Rubio chose to fight fire with fire. The two paths forward for the Republicans involve either Trump becoming inevitable eleven days from now with knockout wins in Florida and OH or, alternately, five rugged months of state-by-state fighting followed by a contested convention. Yes, he did it.
Rubio on why he chose to insult Trump on the trail: "For the previous year Donald Trump has mocked everybody with personal attacks".
"So if there is anyone who has ever deserved to be attacked that way, it has been Donald Trump, for the way he has treated people in the campaign".
I guess loyalty is only a one-way street where you must be loyal to some group but they owe you nothing.
Presidential hopeful Donald Trump is still talking about his hands.
"Look at these hands, these are the hands that hit a golf ball 285 yards", Trump bragged.
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Rubio said: "He's always calling me Little Marco". Then he spread his palms out. During a rally in Virginia, Rubio referred to his opponent by saying, "Have you seen his hands?"
"I've wanted to be involved in the campaign, if you will, as a bit of a referee".
Trump's response: "He hit my hands", he said, referring to Rubio's comments about Trump having small hands and how that could relate to the size of other body parts.
Rubio's attacks against Trump were not the only ones that Trump had to take in on Thursday.
Going into the weekend round, Donald Trump leads in the GOP race with 329 delegates.
Trump's other main rival, Ted Cruz, is also holding on. "You're not going to stop the corruption in Washington by supporting someone who has supported liberal Democrats for four decades, from Jimmy Carter to John Kerry to Hillary Clinton". "And I won't run for president". Rubio called Trump University a "scam". Trump is now being sued by attendees who said they were given false promises about how the program would help their career and that they spent thousands of dollars for lessons they were promised but never received.
Trump navigated a debate that took juvenile and raucous turns, as only Trump can and does.