Donald Trump

Donald Trump

WASHINGTON.– Donald Trump’s rivals emerged from the second Republican presidential debate newly confident that the brash billionaire will fade if the nomination fight takes a more substantive turn, and that they can play a role in taking him down without hurting their own White House ambitions. That may be little more than wishful thinking in a race that so far has defied standard political logic.

Trump may have had a lackluster performance in Wednesday’s debate, but to date he’s proved every prediction of his campaign’s demise to be premature. Often, he’s emerged from such moments with stronger support. “I keep looking for the speed bump that knocks Donald Trump off track,” said Mark Meckler, a leader of the conservative tea party movement.

“I haven’t seen it. We’re in uncharted territory.” Trump has drawn scorn from both Democrats and Republicans for insulting Hispanics and women, and remains a longshot for the presidency. And polling is notoriously unreliable at this stage of the presidential race and heavily influenced by name recognition.

But Trump’s campaign surge has proved surprisingly durable, unnerving Republican leaders who fear he’s damaging their party’s prospects of sending one of their own to the White House.

Since the debate, Trump has drawn fire from Democrats and some Republicans after declining to rebuke a questioner at a town hall event who insulted Muslims and wrongly said President Barack Obama is a member of the faith. Trump told conservative Republicans in Iowa on Saturday that he is not obligated to defend the president.

Trump argued that he would have faced criticism if he had jumped in. He read aloud tweets he sent in his defence, including one that read: “Am I morally obligated to defend the president every time somebody says something bad or controversial about him? I don’t think so.”- AFP.