At Thursday's GOP debate in Detroit, Michigan, Donald Trump responded to attacks made by former Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney during a speech earlier in the day, calling Romney "a failed candidate" as usual. Trump is known for some pretty repetitive sound bytes (à la, "Make America great again," and, "I'll build a wall and make Mexico pay for it"), but the repetition seemed flimsy on the debate stage. Ironically, Trump's canned response probably only made him more guilty of the negative qualities that Romney had accused him of.
It was the first question of the Fox News debate: Moderator and Fox News host Chris Wallace kicked things off by asking Trump to respond to what Romney had said on Thursday morning. As Wallace listed, Romney accused Trump of "bullying," "misogyny," and "absurd, third-grade theatrics," among other things. As the audience booed, Trump cracked a smug grin. He then responded in his completely predictable way:
He was a failed candidate. He should have beaten President Obama very easy. He failed miserably, and it was an embarrassment to everybody, including the Republican Party. He went away, it looked like he went away on a vacation the last month... Obviously, he wants to be relevant.
Thursday night was far from the first time that Trump has bashed Romney's loss to Obama. He has previously called the former Massachusetts governor a "loser." (And you can imagine what Trump thinks about losers.)
What's important, though, is not necessarily how often Trump has used this line against Romney. Rather, it's whether or not Trump actually answered Romney's challenge. As Wallace mentioned in his question, Romney wanted Trump to use substance, rather than insults, to make his case for the White House. Clearly, Trump began his response with insults, attacking Romney like he has done so many times before. He then pivoted into a discussion of his trade plan, claiming that it is far superior to what Romney had called for.
In promoting his trade plan, Trump didn't necessarily use insults, but he also might not have used the substance that Romney was looking for. For one thing, Trump claimed that the United States is losing more than $500 billion a year in a trade imbalance with China. Again, this is a familiar sound byte from the controversial candidate — and one that Politifact has called into question. In other words, Trump doesn't really seem to have any new — or terribly useful — information to respond to Romney with.