Republican rivals mock Trump, try to make the most of his absence
Jan 29, Washington: Absent Donald Trump has been mocked by his Republican presidential candidates at a televised debate in Iowa, after quitting the event in a row with Fox News.
The candidates couldn't resist mocking Trump, who withdraws the final debate before Iowa kicks off voting in the 2016 campaign on Monday after the broadcaster refused to drop host Megyn Kelly, whom Trump accused of bias.
The billionaire held a rally nearby, in honour of war veterans, that threatened to overshadow the debate, reports said.
On Monday, voters in Iowa are due to pick their presidential nominee for each party.
Days ahead of that critical test, Trump's absence on the stage in Des Moines was keenly felt by his seven rivals in the race to be Republican presidential nominee.
Texas Senator Ted Cruz addressed it with humour in the opening minutes by throwing mock insults at his rivals.
Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush also poked fun at the billionaire businessman, who has often tormented Bush in previous debates.
Bush, a frequent target of Trump, said with a wry smile, "I kind of miss Donald Trump; he was a teddy bear to me."
The two senators were confronted with video clips suggesting they had changed their positions on immigration, one of the most contentious issues among Republicans. While each insisted the other had flip-flopped, both denied they had switched their own views allowing some people in the U.S. illegally to stay.
The Oslo Times