GOP Debate: Full Update On Everything That Happened

Tuesday night’s Republican debate saw a vast majority of questions and interactions between candidates on national security, as this was the first GOP debate after the terror attacks in San Bernardino.

The event featured businessman Donald Trump, former neurosurgeon Ben Carson, Florida Senator Marco Rubio, Texas Senator Ted Cruz, former HP CEO Carly Fiorina, Ohio Governor John Kasich, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, and Kentucky Senator Rand Paul.

For the first few minutes of the debate, Trump’s recent proposal to ban Muslims from entering the United States became the main topic of discussion. Trump defended his stance early on in the debate, claiming banning Muslims was necessary to keep the country safe.

“We are not talking about isolation,” he said. “We are talking about security. We’re not talking about religion. We’re talking about security.” His proposal was met with criticism, particularly from Bush who deemed Trump a “chaos candidate” and said the idea was “not a serious proposal.”

Bush continuously tried to paint Trump as a candidate who was not serious, saying, “This is another example of the lack of seriousness. Look, this is troubling because this is war. They’ve declared war on us, and we need to have a serious strategy to destroy ISIS. But the idea that that is a solution to this — it’s just crazy… he gets his foreign policy experience from the shows.”

Trump later shot back with an argument that the country needs “tough people.” He said, “We need toughness. We need strength. We’re not respected as a nation anymore. We don’t have the level of respect that we need and if we don’t get it back we’re going to get weaker and weaker. We can’t allow that to happen.”

The Freedom Act was another topic of debate as it changed parts of the Patriot Act in how federal agencies conduct surveillance and gather data.

“We are at a time where we need more tools, not less tools,” declared Rubio, adding that “the metadata program we lost was a valuable tool we no longer have” due to Cruz — and other senators’ — vote in favor of the bill.

Cruz defended himself, claiming the Florida Republican and a group supporting him have been wrongly attacking him. Paul, who is an advocate for privacy over surveillance, reinforced Cruz by pursuing Rubio, saying, “I think Marco gets it completely wrong. We are not any safer through the bulk collection of records.”

“In fact I think we’re less safe,” he continued. “We get so distracted by all of the information that we’re not spending enough time on specific information on terrorists.” Later, Paul went on to point out Rubio’s past support for comprehensive immigration reform.

“Marco has opposed at every increase border security for those who come in,” said Paul. “So Marco can’t have it both ways. He thinks he can say ‘Oh I’m great and strong on national defense,’ but he’s the weakest of all the candidates on immigration.”

Meanwhile, retired neurosurgeon Carson — who recently paid a visit to a refugee camp near Jordan’s border with Syria — suggested that instead of bringing Syrian refugees to the U.S., he would try to settle them instead in the Kurdish-controlled areas along Turkey’s southern border.

When asked whether he would send the 2,000 Syrian refugees who are already living in the United States back to their home country, Paul answered that he hadn’t “taken a position on sending anyone home,” but stated that he thinks putting refugees “in government housing and food stamps” is a mistake.

Meanwhile, Christie pointed out that the recent terrorist attack in San Bernardino showed  “women can commit heinous acts,” which, according to him, is a revelation that disproved the Obama administration’s argument that most refugees are “women and orphans.”

On whether or not he still supports a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, Rubio — one of the authors of the failed comprehensive immigration reform in 2013 — said he’s “personally open to allowing people to apply for a green card,” but only after the border has been secured and the legal immigration system has been modernized.

“Here’s what we learned from 2013,” Rubio started. “The American people don’t trust the federal government to enforce our immigration laws. And we will not be able to do anything on immigration until we first prove to the American people that illegal immigration is under control.”

Cruz then criticized Rubio for standing with President Barack Obama and Senator Chuck Schumer over conservatives on the issue, only for Rubio to retort, “As far as Ted’s record, I’m always puzzled by his attack on this issue. Ted, you support legalizing people who are in this country illegally.”

“Ted Cruz supported a 500 percent increase in the number of H1B visas — the guest workers that are allowed in this country, and Ted supports doubling the number of green cards,” Rubio continued. “So it’s important for us to understand that there is a way forward on this issue that we can bring our country together on.”

Rubio then proceeded to press Cruz, asking whether or not the latter supported legalizing undocumented immigrants. “I have never supported legalization,” Cruz finally answered, “and I do not intend to support legalization.”

Read Also: Republican Debate 2015: 10 Highlights From The Explosive Debate

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Regina is a Fine Arts graduate who expresses herself through various mediums. She finds amusement in pop culture, enjoys video games, and watches way too many YouTube videos on a daily basis.