Donald Trump and Senator Ted Cruz got personal and strongly clashed during Thursday’s primetime GOP debate. The 2.5-hour event sponsored by Fox Business Network was filled with testy exchanges between the seven candidates on stage. Cruz and Trump are battling for first place in Iowa with less than three weeks until the state’s caucuses, though the businessman has a commanding lead nationally. And with pressure mounting for someone to emerge as an establishment alternative to Trump and Cruz, sparks flew between Marco Rubio and Chris Christie. Trump responded to Cruz’ recent accusation that the businessman “embodies New York values.”
“I saw something that no place on Earth could have handled more beautifully, more humanely than New York. Trump said. “The people in New York fought and fought and fought. We saw more death and even the smell of death and it was with us for months.”
The showdown between Trump and Cruz was slow to begin, but when it did it packed a punch. Cruz forcefully responded to Trump’s accusations that he isn’t eligible to be president because he was born in Canada — a controversy that Trump has only recently embraced. The tension between the two men, who until now have maintained a certain peace on the debate stage, was palpable. Trump essentially admitted he’s now getting tougher on Cruz because he’s rising in the polls in Iowa – and gave no ground over the course of more than two hours.