Des Moines, Iowa – On Thursday night, Megyn Kelly, Bret Baier, and Chris Wallace moderated the highly anticipated Republican presidential debate in Des Moines, Iowa. The ratings of Fox News Channel scored 12.5 million viewers, even when Donald Trump did not attend the debate, however, he was among the most mentioned of the night.

Megyn Kelly confronted all candidates during the night. In some occasions, her questions disconcerted Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, who are ranking second place and third place in Iowa, according to polls. The debate moderator showed videos that presented the candidates saying controversial things related to the immigration reform.

Republican presidential candidates just before the Republican presidential primary debate on Thursday, Jan. 28, 2016, in Des Moines, Iowa. Credit: ABC News

Senator Rubio  was quoted for saying that he had agreed to oppose legalization and citizen for illegal immigrants in 2010, before he had been elected as senator from the state of Florida. However, he admitted that currently he does not support amnesty.

On the other hand, Republican candidate Jeb Bush admitted that he had not a popular position in the primary, and he encouraged the audience from Iowa to read his book Immigration Wars, adding that it was not a best seller that people could get at $2.99 on Amazon.

The controversial absence of Donald Trump

The debate was not attended by the Republican leader Donald Trump. It was stated by Fox News on Friday that Trump requested a $5 million donation as “a quid pro quo,” which means “something for something.” As a response, Fox News said that the network would not engage in a quid pro quo, nor could any money change hands for any reason.

Media analysts have said that Trump did not attend the debate due to past confrontations with Megyn Kelly. In August last year, she asked a furious Trump about some derogatory comments related to women that he had previously stated. The GOP candidate said that Kelly was unfair, and then tweeted that she was really off her game.

“I didn’t want to be here, to be honest, I wanted to be about five minutes away. When you’re treated badly, you have to stick up for your rights – whether we like it or not.”  Trump told the crowd at Drake University on Thursday night, where he announced that he has raised $6 million that will be donated to veterans through his personal foundation.

Republican candidate Ted Cruz had previously criticized Trump’s decision of not attending the debate. On Thursday night he parodied the leading Republican candidate, saying “I’m a maniac and everyone in this room is stupid, fat and ugly,” while he imitated the voice of the wealthy candidate. He later added that he hoped to earn the support of Trump’s voters.

“I think we’re going to do really well in Iowa. We’re leading in the Iowa polls. And Cruz is in the second place. He got really pummeled last night. I’m glad I wasn’t there. And they didn’t even mention that he was born in Canada,” Trump said. “So he got beaten pretty badly last night. And I don’t know what’s going to happen to him,” Trump said on Friday.

Source: Washington Post