Right-wing media figures strongly criticized the recent “rough, dirty and mean” exchanges between GOP presidential candidates Donald Trump and Marco Rubio, calling the comments “embarrassing.”
GOP Presidential Campaign Turns “Rough, Dirty And Mean”
The Hill: “Rubio Mocks Trump For Spelling, 'Spray Tan,' 'Hair Force One' Plane.” The Hill reported on February 27 that Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) “continued his mockery of Donald Trump, going after the businessman's spelling errors and ”spray tan," noting that although Rubio is running for president, “it sounds like he would settle for a Comedy Central special”:
Marco Rubio is running for president, but it sounds like he would settle for a Comedy Central special.
Rubio on Saturday continued his mockery of rival Donald Trump, going after the businessman's spelling errors and “spray tan” at a campaign event in Kennesaw, Ga.
“You guys wanna have a little fun today?” Rubio mischievously asked the crowd, holding up his cell phone.
“Last night he was actually pretty calm after I punched him around a little bit,” he said of Trump.
“He's learning how to spell, I guess. But he's flying around on Hair Force One and tweeting.”
The spelling dig was a reference to a series of mistyped Trump tweets Friday, where the business mogul repeatedly called Rubio a “chocker” and noted the “honer” of winning polls.
“So here's the one tweet he put out, he put out a picture of me having makeup put on me at the debate,” Rubio said, referring to another Trump tweet fromFriday.
“Which is amazing me to me, that the guy with the worst spray tan in America is attacking me for putting on makeup.”
The kicker: “Donald Trump likes to sue people; he should sue whoever did that to his face.” [The Hill, 2/27/16]
NYTimes: GOP Debate “Frequently Devolved Into Unmediated Bouts Of Shouting” And “Name-Calling” As Candidates Sparred. The New York Times reported that exchanges between candidates during the February 25 Republican presidential debate demonstrated an “acerbic and urgent tenor” to the campaign as Rubio “unleashed a barrage of attacks” on Trump to counter the real estate mogul's “crudely freewheeling style”:
Senator Marco Rubio, alarmed by Donald J. Trump's ascendancy and worried that his presidential chances were slipping away, unleashed a barrage of attacks on the real estate mogul's business ethics, hiring practices and financial achievements in Thursday's debate, forcefully delivering the onslaught that Republican leaders had desperately awaited.
In a series of acid exchanges, a newly pugnacious Mr. Rubio, long mocked for a robotic and restrained style, interrupted Mr. Trump, quizzed him, impersonated him, shouted over him and left him looking unsettled. It was an unfamiliar reversal of roles for the front-runner, who found himself so frequently the target of assaults from Mr. Rubio and Senator Ted Cruz that he complained they must have been a ploy for better television ratings.
The two-hour rumpus frequently devolved into unmediated bouts of shouting, name-calling and pleas to the moderators for chances to respond to the latest insult.
“This guy's a choke artist,” Mr. Trump declared, pointing to Mr. Rubio. “This guy's a liar,” he said, swiveling toward Mr. Cruz. [The New York Times, 2/25/16]
NYTimes: After Debate, GOP Field “Looks More Like A Variety Show” Than A Presidential Campaign. The New York Times reported February 28 on increasing “acidity” from Sen. Marco Rubio in his exchanges with opponent Donald Trump, who responds in a “gleefully savage way.” The paper said Rubio and his team had decided the best way to handle Trump was to stoop “to his level: taunt, insult, mock and have a blast doing it”:
It is the kind of campaign he said he would never run. But Senator Marco Rubio, seeing his path to the Republican nomination grow narrower with each contest, has determined that the only way to beat Donald J. Trump is to fight like him: rough, dirty and mean.
The acidity coming from Mr. Rubio these days, and the gleefully savage way Mr. Trump has responded, have sent an already surreal presidential campaign lurching into the gutter with taunts over perspiration, urination and self-tanner.
As they watched Mr. Trump clinch his third straight victory with a win in the Nevada caucuses last week, Mr. Rubio and his aides concluded that the only way to beat him was to get inside his head, by stooping to his level: Taunt, insult, mock and have a blast doing it.
They seem satisfied that it is working.
“We came to the conclusion that if being a part of the circus is the price you have to pay in order for us to ultimately be able to talk about substantive policy, then that's what we're going to do,” said Todd Harris, a senior Rubio adviser.
Mr. Harris noted that Mr. Rubio's speeches were now being carried live on television. And if the price of admission, he added, was talking about “how Trump is a con man, with a bad spray tan,” so be it.
What has followed is a race that looks more like a variety show than a campaign to elect the most powerful leader on earth. [The New York Times, 2/28/16]
Conservative Media Blast Comments As “An Embarrassment For The Republican Party”
Brian Kilmeade: Rubio And Trump's Comments Are “Beneath What The Actual Office Needs.” On February 29, Fox & Friends showed a montage of the candidates' criticisms of one another, including Rubio making fun of the size of Trump's hands. Host Brian Kilmeade called the exchanges “embarrassing,” adding that he doubts the tone will “be eliminated from this debateon Thursday”:
BRIAN KILMEADE (HOST): It's kind of beneath what the actual office needs, I think it's kind of a little embarrassing. I thought it really started with the last debate, and hopefully it'll be eliminated from this debate on Thursday, but I doubt it. [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 2/29/16]
Chris Wallace: GOP Debate Was “An Embarrassment For The Republican Party.” On the February 26 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor, contributor Chris Wallace criticized the exchanges between candidates at the February 25 GOP presidential debate, telling O'Reilly that “if you saw someone acting presidentially on that stage I think you got better eyesight, Bill, than I do”:
CHRIS WALLACE: Let me just say first of all, big picture,I thought it was an embarrassment for the Republican Party. There were a lot of shots taken, a lot of shots scored, but there was precious little vision, almost no discussion, serious discussion of issues -- what are you going to do? How are you going to improve people's lives? And if you saw someone acting presidentially on that stage, got better eyesight, Bill, than I do. [Fox News, The O'Reilly Factor, 2/26/16]
Morning Joe Hosts: Campaign Was “Brought Down To A New Level” After “Distressing Weekend.” On the February 29 edition of MSNBC's Morning Joe, host Joe Scarborough mentioned Rubio's comment that Trump might have wet his pants backstage at the debate, among others, in lamenting that “it was an extraordinarily depressing weekend if you are actually somebody that believes the Republican Party has an important role to play in this country”:
JOE SCARBOROUGH (CO-HOST): It has been an astounding weekend. It was a distressing weekend even before what happened yesterday.
MIKA BRZEZINSKI (CO-HOST): But then it got down and dirty.
SCARBOROUGH: It got down and dirty. I'm just saying that when you have Donald Trump throwing water all over the stage and you have Marco Rubio doing what Marco Rubio knows he now has to do for some reason in 2016, talking about Donald Trump wetting his pants, making references to Donald Trump's anatomy. Ted Cruz just saying there may be mob ties in tax returns. It was an extraordinarily depressing weekend if you are actually somebody that believes the Republican Party has an important role to play in this country. [MNSBC, Morning Joe, 2/29/16]
Martha MacCallum: “Political Repartee” Has Been Replaced By “Schoolboy Stuff” In GOP Field. On the February 29 edition of Fox News' America's Newsroom, host Martha MacCallum described as “locker room stuff” the ongoing exchanges between GOP candidates, including Trump's recent imitation of Rubio taking a drink from a water bottle during his 2013 response to the State of the Union:
MARTHA MACCALLUM (HOST): Look at what Marco Rubio talked about over the weekend -- all of this stuff about small hands, and -- Trump with the water bottle going around. Did you ever think that you would witness the kind of schoolboy stuff, locker room talk, that is substituted for political repartee a day or two before Super Tuesday? [Fox News, America's Newsroom, 2/29/16]
Katie Pavlich: GOP Exchanges Are “Degrading ... The Office Of The Presidency.” On the February 29 of America's Newsroom, contributor Katie Pavlich said of the GOP field, “It's just embarrassing to see them talking about small hands, and spray tans and 'little Marco'”:
KATIE PAVLICH: Donald Trump and Marco Rubio are exchanging insults about physical appearance. It's something Donald Trump has been doing for months. Marco Rubio is now doing it back, which I don't think is the greatest idea ... . It's just embarrassing to see them talking about small hands and spray tans and “little Marco.” It really is just such a degrading of the office of the presidency. [Fox News, America's Newsroom, 2/29/16]
Ann Coulter: “And These Are The People Who Claim To Be Concerned About Bringing Dignity Back To The White House.” On February 28, conservative commentator Ann Coulter responded critically to a tweet that said, “The Rubio campaign thought the bit about Trump having a small penis was so good they put it on Youtube”:
And these are the people who claim to be concerned about bringing dignity back to the White House. https://t.co/P0d3Ej6hlI
-- Ann Coulter (@AnnCoulter) February 29, 2016