On Wednesday night, the second GOP debate took place, and everyone was looking to take a chunk out of Trump's massive lead.
Trump opted out of attending the debate to defend his record, but he responded to some attacks against him.
Two of the most potent attacks against Trump came from Governor Ron DeSantis and former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.
Christie spoke directly to Trump during the debate, stating:
"Donald, I know you're watching. You can't help yourself. You're ducking these things. And let me tell you what's going to happen. You keep doing that, no one here's going to call you Donald Trump anymore.
"We're going to call you Donald Duck."
He would have been far better off leaving the last part out of that statement because the first part resonated with voters on social media.
Ron DeSantis also hit Trump, stating:
"Donald Trump is missing in action. He should be here on this stage tonight. He owes it to you to defend his record."
DeSantis specifically pointed to the massive deficit spending under the Trump administration.
Fox News contacted Trump to discuss the attacks and why he was not at the debate.
"I thought it was much more important, considering I have a 56-point lead, for me to be dealing with the UAW and the fact that the Biden administration is going to destroy their jobs over the next two years by going all electric vehicle."
When Trump was directly asked about the Donald Duck line by Christie, he responded:
"Anybody that would come up with that nickname shouldn't be running for president."
Christie is only in this race to go after Donald Trump, but his attack was effective.
Will it hurt Trump in polling? Well, the man has such a significant lead, I doubt it will make that much of an impact, but these candidates continue to bring up valid points and voters, at least on social media, are starting to ask more and more questions.
I think Ron DeSantis really hit home, portraying Trump as a bit of a coward for not showing up to take questions regarding his record.
Again, however, even if DeSantis eats into that lead, it means nothing unless this becomes a head-to-head matchup.
DeSantis suggested to Sean Hannity that he would love for him to set up a debate with Trump, but I just don't see Trump being willing to do that.
The real problem for me, however, is that these debates are almost unwatchable. The only reason I stayed tuned in for the entire debate was because I had to write about it, but the bickering and lack of actual debate is beyond annoying.
I would rather have fewer questions that everyone gets to answer than one question to a candidate where nobody is given a chance to respond.
And these candidates need to stop acting like petulant children, hurling insults and talking over each other like a schoolyard fight. DeSantis even played the adult in the room at one point telling them all to stop.
They have one debate left, and that one will be for all the marbles, so they better get this figured out before then if they really want to make an impression.
I would also suggest that DeSantis' prep team needs to do a much better job. When DeSantis was challenged about the uninsured in his state, he was clearly caught off guard. He also needs to do a better job of explaining his oil drilling and fracking position since he has been governor because simply saying someone is lying about his record is not going to do the trick.
He needs to own his position and fully explain it, or it will be a constant point of attack against him.
As far as Trump is concerned, I still believe not attending these debates is a mistake, especially when these candidates are bringing up valid points to the American people.
If Trump is so confident, why not attend the third debate and end this race, or is he really afraid to explain his record when he can be directly challenged?
He also needs to be asked, point blank, in front of the American people, what he will do if he goes to jail or if he somehow loses this primary election. Polls are now saying that more than 70% of all voters will not vote for him if he is convicted, which means he has no path to victory if he is convicted on a single charge before the general election.
What will you do, Mr. Trump? It's time for you to answer that question.
My final note on this is that I am sick and tired of pundits, and Donald Trump, for that matter, justifying Trump not debating these candidates. All people like Kellianne Conway continue to say after the debate is that the big winner of the night was Donald Trump. Well, you can't win if you don't play.
First, as noted above, it is not all just about debating the candidates because he needs to answer questions about his record.
Second, Trump and his surrogates keep pointing to previous candidates who did not debate, but they were all incumbents being challenged in the primary, and Trump is not an incumbent.
Thirdly, we all hammered Democrat candidates in 2020 and 2022 for not debating opponents, but now, suddenly, it is okay not to debate simply because it is Trump. I don't buy that. If there is one thing I pride myself on, it is being consistent with all parties regardless of whether I support them or not.
You have to earn this nomination, and right now, quite honestly, Trump is not putting in the work. This works for his base, but it will not work for the voters he still needs to win over.