Wednesday 24 January 2018

Carly Fiorina lands blow on Trump in GOP debate

Carly Fiorina
Carly Fiorina

Ruth Sherlock Washington

It was the face-off that everybody was waiting for.

Almost an hour into the second Republican debate of the election season, Carly Fiorina was finally able to exact her revenge on Donald Trump. And she did it with gusto.

In a recent feature for 'Rolling Stone', Mr Trump said of Ms Fiorina: "Look at that face! Would anyone vote for that? Can you imagine that, the face of our next president?"

Mr Trump later said he was talking about her persona, not her appearance.

But when Jake Tapper, the CNN debate moderator, asked Ms Fiorina to respond she said: "I think women all over this country heard very clearly what Mr Trump said."

For the first time, Mr Trump looked dumbstruck, and gave a smile that was almost coy. "She has a beautiful face and is a beautiful woman," he said.

Throughout the debate, Mrs Fiorina proved the only person to challenge Mr Trump in a significant way.

She showed up The Donald's understanding of foreign policy in the first concerted attack on the billionaire during the debate, challenging him on his weakest issue.

Showing herself to be more than deserving of taking part in the "big boys" debate, which she fought to be on after being relegated to the undercard table at the last event, Ms Fiorina made Mr Trump's response on Russia look weak.

Mr Trump said he would "talk to" Vladimir Putin and "get along with him". He had been asked what he would do, if he were president today, to get Russian troops out of Syria where they are fighting on the side of President Bashar al-Assad.

Perhaps it was an attempt to seem less adversarial, after coming under fire for aggressively attacking world leaders in several recent interviews.

But if that was the case, he chose the wrong leader to extend the hand of friendship to, opening himself up to a spearing by Ms Fiorina.

The former Hewlett Packard CEO opened her response by saying she had met Mr Putin "several times". "I wouldn't talk to him at all. We've talked way too much to him," she said.

Instead, Ms Fiorina launched into a long and detailed policy prescription of how she would act. She would begin rebuilding "the Sixth Fleet" and the missile defence programme in Poland". She would conduct "aggressive" military exercises in the Baltic states and "probably" send extra troops to Germany.

"Russia is a bad actor, but Vladimir Putin is someone we should not talk to, because the only way he will stop is to sense strength and resolve on the other side," she said. "And we have all of that within our control."

Irish Independent

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