Update: Coverage of the second Republican debate.
Donald Trump got a lot of attention in the first Republican debate on Thursday. And it's no surprise, considering some of his comments were completely absurd — ranging from refusing to pledge loyalty to the party he's running to represent to justifying insulting women.
1) Trump refused to rule out a third-party run
Fox News's Bret Baier opened up the Republican debate with one question: Who on the stage won't pledge to run an independent campaign should he not win the GOP nomination?
Only one person said they wouldn't take that pledge: Trump. The billionaire said he was weighing his chances. He got booed, and he shrugged. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
This isn't atypical for Trump, who has repeatedly hinted at a third-party run should he lose. But it's a hell of a start for the first debate that will decide the GOP presidential nominee, showing that the frontrunner isn't even loyal to the party he's running for.
2) Trump defended calling women "fat pigs, dogs, slobs, and disgusting animals"
Does Trump think calling women "fat pigs, slobs, and disgusting animals" is presidential? That was the first question posed directly to the billionaire — by Fox News's Megyn Kelly — during the first Republican presidential debate.
His response? "I don't frankly have time for total political correctness," Trump said. "And to be honest with you, this country doesn't either." He then went on to argue that the country needs "brains" and courage to take down China and other US competitors around the world.
He added that "it's fun, it's kidding, we have a good time."
This is, again, typical Trump — and it's one of the reasons he appears to have so much pull for many Republican voters. Many voters believe Trump is a genuine person who isn't afraid to speak out the truth, even when it might offend others. Of course, that doesn't diminish the fact he really is offending others — and it might make him unelectable among certain groups of people, like women.
3) Trump said Mexico is sending criminals to the US — again
Trump has consistently said that Mexico is purposely sending criminals to the US, and that these people make up a majority of unauthorized immigrants. There's absolutely no evidence this is happening, or that immigrants in general are any more likely to be criminals than native-born Americans — but Trump continues making the claim.
Vox's Dara Lind explained why this claim is so ridiculous:
Arguably, the Mexican government wants immigration reform as badly as some American politicians do. And the country's leaders understand they have to help with border security to make that happen. At present, the Mexican government is actually taking the lead on apprehending people (including children and families) from Central America.
Oh, right, and, as Marco Rubio pointed out, Mexico isn't even the largest unauthorized-immigrant-sending country to the US as of last year.
4) Trump bragged about opposing the Iraq War … a year after it started
In an attempt to differentiate himself from other Republican candidates, Trump bragged about how he had "vision" and opposed the Iraq War before any of the other people on the debate stage. There's just one problem: He said he started opposing the war a year after it started.
"In July of 2004, I came out strongly against the war with Iraq because it was going to destabilize the Middle East," Trump said. "I am the only one on this stage who knew that and had the vision to say it. And that's exactly what happened. The region became totally destabilized."
Vox's Dylan Matthews explained the problem with Trump's comment:
Of course, the Iraq invasion began on March 19, 2003 — more than a year before the denunciation Trump is bragging about. That's still earlier than most of his fellow GOP candidates, but it's a bit much to brag about one's "vision" in saying that something was going to be a disaster after it had already happened.
Trump's politics were also rather different in July 2004. In an interview, he told CNN's Wolf Blitzer, "In many cases, I probably identify more as Democrat … It just seems that the economy does better under the Democrats than the Republicans."
5) Trump invoked Ronald Reagan to explain his previous flip-flops
Kelly asked, "When did you actually become a Republican?"
"I've evolved on many issues over the years," Trump responded. "And you know who else has? It's Ronald Reagan — [he] evolved on many issues."
Trump went on to explain that he changed his stance on abortion in part because a friend of his decided not to have one, and the child is now "a total superstar." "What happened is friends of mine years ago were going to have a child, and it was going to be aborted, and it wasn't aborted," he said. "That child today is a total superstar — a great, great child. And I saw that, and I saw other instances. And I am very, very proud to say that I am pro-life."
Trump ultimately came back to Kelly's direct question, saying he became a Republican after seeing the results of President Barack Obama's time in office.