A Restrained Republican Debate Touched on Cuba Policy, Inciting Violence and That F*cking Wall

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The remaining four Republican candidates – Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Donald Trump, and John Kasich – headed to Miami (aka Rubio territory) on Thursday for the 12th debate before the Ohio, Florida, Illinois, North Carolina, and Missouri primaries. Just like the final Democratic debate on Wednesday, the event was surprising, with Rubio and Cruz fighting their natural instincts. Or as the New York Times said, “It was a restrained, PG-rated debate in a primary campaign drenched in vulgarity and rhetorical bile.”

The Democratic debate aired on Univision and catered to the Spanish-speaking Latino population, but the GOP didn’t make this same group a priority. As a matter of fact, the Republican debate used a combination of the terms Hispanic or Latino just once, and the Democratic candidates said both words nearly 25 times.

Here’s what else happened on Thursday:

No journalists of color participated in the debate.

The debate was held at the University of Miami, and moderated by Jake Tapper, Stephen Dinan (Washington Times), Dana Bash (CNN Chief Political Correspondent), and Hugh Hewitt (Salem Radio). Miami is about 70 percent Latino, and the lack of diversity didn’t go unnoticed.

Trump addressed assault at his rallies.

On Thursday, a man sucker-punched a protester at a Trump rally in Fayettville, North Carolina. Tapper asked Trump if he has encouraged violence through his aggressive rhetoric.

“I hope not. I truly hope not,” he said. “I will say this. We have 25 (thousand), 30,000 people — you’ve seen it yourself. People come with tremendous passion and love for the country, and when they see protest — in some cases — you know, you’re mentioning one case, which I haven’t seen, I heard about it, which I don’t like. But when they see what’s going on in this country, they have anger that’s unbelievable. They have anger. They love this country. They don’t like seeing bad trade deals, they don’t like seeing higher taxes, they don’t like seeing a loss of their jobs where our jobs have just been devastated. And I know — I mean, I see it. There is some anger. There’s also great love for the country. It’s a beautiful thing in many respects. But I certainly do not condone that at all, Jake.”

Tapper then quoted Trump saying that he’d like to punch someone in the face, and actually just asking the audience to do it for him. Trump didn’t even try to weasel his way out of it. “We have some protesters who are bad dudes, they have done bad things.”

Marco Rubio talks about Cuba.

Marco Rubio schools Donald J. Trump on Cuba, garners loud applause. Follow along live:

Posted by CNN on Thursday, March 10, 2016

Trump is open to working with Cuba, but he criticized President Barack Obama for not making a good enough deal (“Right now, everything, every single aspect of this deal is in Cuba’s favor”). Instead, Trump said he’d close the embassy until the two countries reached a more favorable agreement.

Rubio jumped in and explained what would need to happen for the U.S. to have a relationship with Cuba.

“All right, first of all, the embassy is the former consulate,” Rubio said. “It’s the same building. So it could just go back to being called a consulate. We don’t have to close it that way. Second of all, I don’t know where Cuba is going to sue, but if they sue us in a court in Miami, they’re going to lose.”

“Third, on the issue of a good deal, I know what the good deal. I’ll tell you what the good deal now, it’s already codified. Here’s a good deal – Cuba has free elections, Cuba stops putting people in jail for speaking out, Cuba has freedom of the press….”

Rubio won over the crowd with this comment.

Ted Cruz jumps on Trump's wall.

Ron Jenkins/Fort Worth Star-Telegram/MCT via Getty Images

Ted Cruz was asked what the correct ratio of immigrants who come to the U.S. legally and guest workers should be.

“Well, we need to redefine our legal immigration system so that it meets the needs of the American economy,” he said. “Right now, we’re bringing in far too many low-skilled workers. What that is doing is driving down the wages of hard-working Americans. Our system isn’t working. And then on top of that we’ve got a system that’s allowing millions of people to be here illegally. And the answer to that, I’ve laid out a very, very detailed immigration plan on my website. We’re going to build a wall, triple the border patrol. We’re going to end sanctuary cities. And let me tell you how we’re going to do that. We’re going to cut off federal taxpayer funds to any city that defies federal immigration laws.”

The GOP will support Trump if he is the nominee.

GOP Chairman Reince Priebus took to the stage before the debate and said that whoever was elected the Republican nominee would have the party’s full support.

“This party is going to support the nominee, whoever that is, 100 percent,” he said, according to NBC. “Anyone of these four gentleman would be better” than Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders.