Donald Trump did not attend the most recent Republican debate hosted by FOX News, but it seems he was not hurt by the decision. His fellow candidates got grilled on the debate while other networks apart from FOX decided to cover what Trump was doing that night instead of the debate, still giving him the exposure he needs.
According to Al Jazeera, the FOX News debate covered more ground that the previous six debates where Trump was present in. The candidates were grilled on their positions on certain hard issues that can make or break them in the eyes of the voters. Even though Trump was there, the news site provided that he probably did not suffer from not being in that kind of limelight. This is because the Republican forerunner was followed by every other news channel that night, except for FOX News.
The former "Celebrity Apprentice" host and prominent businessman skipped the debate but did not stay home that night. Instead, he held his own event across town, with an overwhelming turnout. Even with less than a day's notice, he still managed to pack a 700-capacity hall, with many more wanting the chance to buy tickets but simply cannot be accommodated anymore.
Al Jazeera claimed that even though Trump did not get to answer the tough questions Americans want to ask their next President, he managed to avoid being criticized and torn apart for a lot of his previously controversial statements. He also did not have to craft a safe answer when someone ask him about his support for the leading Democrat Hillary Clinton. He managed to avoid all these so it was not a bad thing to miss the debate at all. He also got the same level of exposure as the other candidates received that night, if not more.
CNN now reports that Trump holds the top spot in the Republican presidential race, amassing 40 percent of GOP voters in his favor. This is evidenced by a new CNN/ORC poll.
Naturally, though, the presidential candidates who did not shy away from the Fox News debate also gained with Trump's absence. Jeb Bush, in particular, is said to be more in control that night because he did not have to contend with Trump's bullying and belittling. He also showed what he is truly made of by giving credible answers on the issues of Islamophobia and immigration. Without Trump, however, Ted Cruz, found himself being on the hot seat. He had to answer to the Republican Governor of Iowa who insisted that he must not win. He also gave passable answers to questions on immigration. Marco Rubio was quite aggressive. But Rand Paul was even more so, surprising mostly everyone. He attacked Cruz on the issue of immigration and Rubio on foreign policy.
Chris Christie, John Kasich, and Ben Carson did their best to hold their own amid all the hard questions. It remains to be seen though if all their performances in the debate affected their respective level of support from the voters.