SIMI VALLEY: Republican presidential candidates collectively turned their sights on frontrunner Donald Trump at the party’s second debate, taking aim at his lack of political experience and his sometimes abrasive style.
Fellow candidates hoping to check his lead in the polls painted the controversial real estate mogul as an insult monger, a loose cannon and an “entertainer” — a reference to his time as a television reality star.
From the starting gun of the primetime debate at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California, Trump was front and center, with a question about whether he could be trusted with the nuclear codes.
Former Hewlett-Packard chief executive Carly Fiorina damned Trump with faint praise.
“Mr Trump is a wonderful entertainer,” she said. “He’s been terrific at that business.”
But, she added pointedly, “one of the benefits of a presidential campaign is the character and capability, judgment and temperament of every single one of us is revealed over time and under pressure.”
“All of us will be revealed over time and under pressure. I look forward to a long race.”
The rest of the field was eager to pile on.
One-time favorite Jeb Bush tacitly questioned whether Trump was up to the job.
“You can’t just, you know, talk about this stuff and insult leaders around the world and expect a good result,” the former Florida governor said.
“You have to do this with a steady hand, and I believe I have those skills.”
Trump responded with his trademark bluster: “My temperament is very good, very calm, but we will be respected outside of this country. We are not respected now.”
Wisconsin governor Scott Walker jumped in with a seemingly well prepared punchline playing on the title of Trump’s past reality show.
Turning on the billionaire, he said: “Mr Trump, we don’t need an apprentice in the White House — we have one right now.”