The Fox News/Google GOP Debates took place at the Iowa Events Center in Des Moines Thursday night. Fox News moderators covered broad issues with the GOP hopefuls ranging from ISIS and the economy to Democratic rivals Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. As has been widely reported, billionaire businessman Donald Trump did not attend the debate. Earlier on Thursday, Fox News held brief discussions with Trump about participating in the debate according to this statement from a Fox News spokesperson:
“Roger Ailes had three brief conversations with Donald Trump today about possibly appearing at the debate – there were not multiple calls placed by Ailes to Trump. In the course of those conversations, we acknowledged his concerns about a satirical observation we made in order to quell the attacks on Megyn Kelly, and prevent her from being smeared any further. Furthermore, Trump offered to appear at the debate upon the condition that FOX News contribute $5 million to his charities. We explained that was not possible and we could not engage in a quid pro quo, nor could any money change hands for any reason. In the last 48 hours, we've kept two issues at the forefront — we would never compromise our journalistic standards and we would always stand by our journalist, Megyn Kelly. We have accomplished those two goals and we are pleased with the outcome. We're very proud to have her on stage as a debate moderator alongside Bret Baier & Chris Wallace."
Candidates including former Florida Governor Jeb Bush and Senator Ted Cruz of Texas offered lighthearted comments acknowledging Trump’s absence.
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