The Slatest

The Best Lines of the Fox News GOP Debate

The remains of the GOP primary field—Donald Trump, Marco Rubio, John Kasich, and Ted Cruz—have gathered at their podiums for yet another Fox News debate Thursday night. As always, we’re keeping track of their best lines and most boorish burns:

Trump, getting back at Mitt Romney:

Well, look, he was a failed candidate. He should have beaten President Obama very easy [sic]. He failed miserably, and it was an embarrassment to everybody, including the Republican Party. He went away—it looked like he went away on vacation the last month.


Rubio, explaining why he suggested that Donald Trump had wet himself:

If there has been any candidate deserved to be attacked that way, it’s Donald Trump for the way he has treated people in the campaign. With that said, I would much prefer to have a policy debate.


Trump, defending the size of his … hands?:

He hit my hands. Nobody has ever hit my hands. I have never heard of this. Look at those hands. Are they small hands?

Kasich on why he doesn’t end up talking much at the debates:

Throughout this campaign, I have talked about issues. I have never tried to go and get into these kind of scrums that we are seeing here on stage, and people say wherever I go: You seem to be the adult on the stage.


Trump, responding to Rubio’s critiques, one point at a time:

This little guy has lied so much.

Cruz, raging against anger:

I understand the folks who are supporting Donald right now. You are angry. You are angry at Washington, and he uses angry rhetoric. But for 40 years, Donald has been part of the corruption in Washington that you are angry about.

Trump, media critic:

First of all, BuzzFeed, they were the ones that said under no circumstances will I run for president. And [boy] were they wrong.

Trump, just foolin’ around:

I’m not playing to anybody’s fantasies. I’m playing to the fact that our country is in trouble. 


Rubio, questioning Trump’s status as job creator, a topic that seems to confuse them both equally:


You argue you are here to fight on behalf of the American worker. When you have chances to help the American workers, you are making your clothes overseas and hiring your workers from overseas.

Trump, suggesting that he does both yoga and Pilates:

Megyn, I have a very strong core. I have a very strong core. But I’ve never seen a successful person who wasn’t flexible, who didn’t have a certain degree of flexibility.

Rubio on the lessons of Trump University:


He’s trying to do to the American voter what he did for the people that signed up for this course. He’s making promises he has no intention of keeping and it won’t just be $36,000 that they lose, it’s our country that’s at stake here.


Cruz, asking a rhetorical question:

Megyn, let me ask the voters at home: Is this the debate you want playing out in the general election?    

Cruz, demonstrating his support for elementary education:

Donald, learn not to interrupt. It’s not complicated. Count to 10, Donald. Count to 10.


Kasich on acting locally:

We as adults have to fight in our neighborhoods, in our communities, for our children’s education. Put the politics aside and everyone in this room can play a role in lifting their schools and lifting the students in those schools …

Kasich, calling for common sense:

If you go to a photographer to take pictures at your wedding, [and the photographer says], I’d rather not do it, find another photographer. Don’t sue them in court.


Cruz, telling it like it is:

You know, Donald has a tenuous relationship with the truth. 

Rubio, ripping off my joke while zinging Cruz and Trump:

When they’re done with the yoga, can I answer a question?

Rubio, acting like he didn’t tell a joke about Trump wetting his pants a few days ago:

This is a time for seriousness on these issues.

Trump on whether he’ll support the GOP nominee, even if it’s not him:

Yes, I will.

Read more of Slate’s coverage of the GOP primary.

This post will be updated throughout the debate.