Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

Trump Ready for Rubio, Cruz to Bring It On

Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

Trump Ready for Rubio, Cruz to Bring It On

Article excerpt

DETROIT - Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio head into the 11th debate of the Republican presidential race Thursday in an ever-more-urgent scramble to take down Donald Trump - with an ever-more-nervous GOP establishment wishing them luck. Trump pronounced himself ready for his rivals to bring it on, batting away any suggestion of standing above the fray.

"I can't act overly presidential because I'm going to have people attacking from every side, he said on NBC's "Today show. "A very good man, Ben Carson's not there any more, so now we're going to have more time for the fighting.

With Carson's exit from the race this week, the field of Republican candidates has now been narrowed to four, including Ohio Gov. John Kasich.

But any number of predictions that GOP voters would coalesce around one anti-Trump as the field narrowed have come and gone without a change in the overall dynamic.

Trump, with 10 state victories, continues to dominate the conversation and the delegate count.

That has GOP establishment figures gnashing their teeth over the prospect that it may soon be too late to stop Trump's insurgent candidacy, and reviving talk of a brokered convention and an irreparably damaged Republican Party.

Mitt Romney, the party's 2012 nominee, on Thursday made a rare public appearance to denounce Trump as "a phony" who is "playing the American public for suckers."

Also publicly criticizing Trump: House Speaker Paul Ryan, who was Romney's running mate, and 2008 GOP nominee John McCain. Ryan said Trump's more controversial ideas "disfigured conservatism, and McCain voiced concern about Trump's "uninformed and indeed dangerous statements" on national security.

Rubio has been denouncing Trump on both policy and personal grounds as he tries to emerge as Trump's chief rival. He dramatically shifted his tone in the last debate and unleashed a torrent of criticism on Trump. …

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