Donald Trump did not bite his barbed tongue Wednesday.
The Republican presidential frontrunner came out swinging — insulting, dismissing and attacking his rivals — during CNN’s presidential debate at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, Calif.
Trump’s zingers were met with raucous applause and laughter for the first few rounds of sparring during the lengthy debate. But even Trump’s endlessly high-energy schtick seemed to falter as the hours wore on (three hours, to be exact).
Still, as he does with every public speaking performance, Trump left a trail of memorable plaudits (for himself) and jabs, including but certainly not limited to the list below.
On Rand Paul: Funny-looking
Before he answered moderator Jake Tapper’s first question, the real estate tycoon took a moment to let everyone know how he felt about sharing the stage with Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul. Hint: He didn’t like it.
“First of all, Rand Paul shouldn’t even be on this stage. He’s No. 11. He’s got 1 percent in the polls. And how he got up here — there are far too many people anyway,” Trump said.
Donald Trump during the CNN Republican presidential debate. (Photo: Mark J. Terrill/AP)
Paul later shot back, saying that Trump has a “sophomoric quality” that is entertaining but certainly not presidential. For example, he noted that Trump often mocks the physical appearance of his rivals, calling them fat, ugly or short.
“I never attacked him on his look[s],” Trump replied, pointing at Paul, “and believe me, there’s plenty of subject matter right there.”
On George Pataki: Failure
Former New York Gov. George Pataki pointed to Trump’s failed business ventures in Atlantic City as an example to show that he’s unqualified for the presidency.
Trump, a native New Yorker, had a few choice words for his former governor.
“I heard Gov. Pataki, who, by the way, was a failed governor in New York, a very seriously failed — he wouldn’t be elected dogcatcher right now. I heard what he had to say,” Trump said.
On Jeb Bush: More energy than usual
Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush referred to the party’s frontrunner as “Donald” throughout the debate, instead of “Mr. Trump” as he had prior to Wednesday’s faceoff. He also charged that Trump once gave him money in a failed attempt to push Bush to support legal gambling in his state, something the billionaire mogul immediately denied.
Donald Trump speaks as Jeb Bush looks on during Wednesday’s debate. (Photo: Mark J. Terrill/AP)
“Totally false,” Trump said. “I promise if I wanted it, I would have gotten it.”
The tense moment prompted Trump, who had previously attacked Bush for having “low energy,” to say, “More energy tonight. I like that.”
Their squabbling continued periodically throughout the night. Trump eventually insulted Bush’s brother, former President George W. Bush, for having — in his eyes — such a disastrous presidency that even Abraham Lincoln couldn’t have been elected after him as the Republican nominee.
On Carly Fiorina: Beautiful but incompetent business leader
Trump went after Carly Fiorina’s track record as chief executive officer of Hewlett-Packard, citing a recent paper that called her tenure one of the worst in business history.
“She can’t run any of my companies. That I can tell you,” he said.
But he backed down from his infamous insult that she was unelectable because of “that face.”
“I think she’s got a beautiful face and I think she’s a beautiful woman,” he said.
On President Obama: Cowardly
No evening with Trump would be complete without an insult or two aimed at President Obama.
Characteristically, he took a moment to bash Obama during a discussion about his decision not to strike Syria despite having drawn a red line that Syrian President Bashar Assad crossed.
“Somehow [Obama] just doesn’t have courage. There is something missing from our president,” he said.
On himself: Really, really rich
To introduce himself, Trump invoked one of his bestselling 1980s business books to argue that he has the negotiating skills necessary to make the country great.
“I wrote ‘The Art of the Deal,’” he said. “I say not in a braggadocious way, I’ve made billions and billions of dollars dealing with people all over the world, and I want to put whatever that talent is to work for this country so we have great trade deals, we make our country rich again, we make it great again.”
And Trump closed out the night with a big selling point on his candidacy: more. More of everything.
“If I become president, we will do something really special,” he said. “We will make this country greater than ever before. We’ll have more jobs. We’ll have more of everything.”