Fox News moderators end debate by forcing candidates to answer whether they'll support Donald Trump
Fox News moderators ended the network's Thursday-night Republican debate by asking each of the three other GOP candidates whether they would support frontrunner Donald Trump if he is the eventual nominee of the party.
And despite an overtly critical tone toward Trump over the past few weeks, Sens. Marco Rubio of Florida and Ted Cruz of Texas, as well as Ohio Gov. John Kasich, all said they would.
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"I'll support Donald if he's the Republican nominee," Rubio said. "And let me tell you why: Because the Democrats have two people left in the race. One is a socialist and America is not a socialist country. If you want to be a socialist, then move to a socialist country."
That was a reference to Sen. Bernie Sanders, who is a self-proclaimed democratic socialist.
"The other one is under FBI investigation," he continued, referring to Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton. "Not only is she under FBI investigation, but she lied to the families of the victims of Benghazi."
Rubio has continually attacked Trump over the past week — calling him, for example, a "con artist" trying to "scam" voters.
Cruz answered next, saying that he too would support Trump as the nominee.
"Yes, because I gave my word that I would," he said, referring to a Republican National Committee pledge signed by each of the GOP contenders.
See photos from the GOP debate:
Earlier in the debate, Cruz said Trump has a "tenuous relationship with the truth." He and Trump have sparred for the past several weeks.
Finally, Kasich was asked about Trump. He said he would support him as the nominee — but predicted that "before it's all said and done" he'd overtake Trump.
The Fox News moderators then turned to Trump, asking him if he'd support the GOP nominee if it was not himself.
"Even if it's not me?" he asked, jokingly.
He went on to say that he's "very, very proud" that many more people turned out to vote in Republican contests this cycle, a fact he attributed mostly to his popularity.
"I'm going to give them some credit too, even though they don't deserve it," he said of the other candidates. "But the answer is: yes I will" support the eventual nominee.
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