The ten Republican presidential candidates who received the highest levels of support in public opinion surveys debated Thursday night in Cleveland, Ohio. The event marked the launch of the 2016 presidential campaign.
Billionaire businessman Donald Trump received a lot of attention during the debate, which was shown on the FOX News Channel. He was the only candidate who would not promise to support whoever wins the Republican party’s presidential nomination. He also refused to say he would not campaign for the presidency as an independent if he did not win the party’s nomination.
Mr. Trump was asked about controversial statements he has made in the past. He refused to apologize when he was questioned about his past insults of women. He also did not apologize for his statements about illegal immigrants from Mexico. He has said some of them are “criminals” and “rapists.”
Senators Marco Rubio of Florida and Ted Cruz of Texas were among candidates who said they support better control of the border with Mexico. Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush criticized the way Mr. Trump talks about the issue.
Several of the candidates strongly criticized the agreement reached between Western powers and Iran to limit that country’s nuclear activities. They also criticized the Obama administration’s efforts to stop the Islamic State group.
Senator Rand Paul and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie argued during the debate about how to protect Americans while respecting their rights. At one point, Governor Christie called Senator Paul’s ideas about security policy “completely ridiculous.”
The argument between the two men showed the tension within the Republican Party. One side wants stronger national security policies while the other is concerned about the federal government’s power.
Mr. Bush is considered the choice of many Republicans. He said he knows he must work to be seen as different from his brother and father, both of whom are former presidents.
He said the invasion of Iraq by American forces, which was ordered by President George W. Bush, was a mistake. But he blamed President Obama for leaving Iraq too early. He says this led to the creation of the Islamic State, or ISIS.
Before the debate on Thursday night, seven Republican presidential candidates who have lower support in public opinion surveys gathered. Many of them strongly criticized Hillary Clinton. Many experts believe Ms. Clinton will be the Democratic party’s nominee for president.
At least eight more Republican debates are planned.
The Democratic party plans six debates, beginning in October.
I’m Christopher Jones-Cruise.
VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reported this story from Washington. Christopher Jones-Cruise adapted it for Learning English. Mario Ritter was the editor.
Words in This Story
survey – n. an activity in which many people are asked a question or a series of questions in order to gather information about what most people do or think about something
controversial – adj. relating to or causing much discussion, disagreement or argument
Do presidential candidates in your country take part in debates? We want to hear from you. Write your thoughts in the comments section.