The first GOP debate following Super Tuesday is officially in the books. Viewers were expecting a highly contentious event for many reasons, especially because of the debate's location: Michigan, a state making headlines for its water contamination crisis in Flint. Prior to Thursday night, Republicans had done little to address the crisis that has plagued the city, located a mere 70 miles away. The event also marked the latest chapter in the strange saga between GOP front-runner Donald Trump and his fellow Republican candidates. The front-runner was incredibly brash throughout the debate, bringing out the worst in his fellow presidential hopefuls. Donald Trump's closing statements were surprisingly muted yet did little to save face for a candidate who appears to be the target of his own party.
Trump and his fellow candidates were confronted with the governmental and infrastructure failings in the region as well as many other rarely discussed problems from the likes of Bret Baier, Chris Wallace, and Megyn Kelly. One person missing from the madness was neurosurgeon Ben Carson, who has yet to suspend his campaign but appears to have given up. Claiming that his presidential bid was essentially over, he refused to attend the Thursday night debate. Carson had previously called for all GOP candidates to meet prior to the debate to discuss the rather vitriolic tone the election has taken so far. Though it's unclear whether that meeting took place, Carson would've undoubtedly been appalled by Trump's performance.
The candidate's closing statement was perhaps the most concise he's given since taking the stage at the first debate in August. Trump appeared a bit worn out by the end of the event, which shone through in his parting words. Trump said:
I am going to bring jobs back to the United States like nobody else can. We're going to fix our very depleted military. We are going to take care of our vets. We are going to strengthen our borders and you are going to be very, very proud of this country in just a few years if I am elected president. Thank you.
It bears mentioning that one of the final question before candidates gave their closing statements was whether all three candidates onstage would support Trump were he to secure the GOP presidential nomination. No matter how divisive the Donald was onstage, each and every single one stated that they'd back the front-runner. Such good news should make Trump smile, yet his demeanor was anything but thrilled as he ended what had become one of the most cringe-worthy debates yet.