Moderators force candidates to answer whether they'll support Trump

By Allan Smith/Business Insider

Fox News moderators ended the network’s Thursday-night Republican debate by asking frontrunner Donald Trump’s three rivals whether they would support Trump if he became the party’s nominee.

And despite an overtly critical tone toward Trump over the past few weeks, Sens. Marco Rubio of Florida and Ted Cruz of Texas, as well as Gov. John Kasich of Ohio, said they would.

“I’ll support Donald if he’s the Republican nominee,” Rubio said. “And let me tell you why: Because the Democrats have two people left in the race. One is a socialist, and America is not a socialist country. If you want to be a socialist, then move to a socialist country.”

That was a reference to Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, who is a self-proclaimed democratic socialist.

“The other one is under FBI investigation,” he continued, referring to Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton. “Not only is she under FBI investigation, but she lied to the families of the victims of Benghazi.”

Rubio has continually attacked Trump over the past week — calling him, for example, a “con artist” trying to “scam” voters.

Cruz answered next, saying he too would support Trump as the nominee.

“Yes, because I gave my word that I would,” he said, referring to a Republican National Committee pledge signed by each of the GOP contenders.

Earlier in the debate, Cruz said Trump had a “tenuous relationship with the truth.” He and Trump have sparred for the past several weeks.

Finally, Kasich was asked about Trump. He said he would support him as the nominee — but predicted that he’d overtake Trump “before it’s all said and done.”

The Fox News moderators then turned to Trump, asking him whether he’d support any GOP nominee.

“Even if it’s not me?” he asked, jokingly.

He went on to say he was “very, very proud” that many more people turned out to vote in Republican contests this cycle, a fact he attributed mostly to his popularity.

“I’m going to give them some credit too, even though they don’t deserve it,” he said of the other candidates. “But the answer is: Yes I will” support the eventual nominee.

Story continues after video

Related content:

Color edit toon Bill O'Reilly and Slaves
Hide Caption
Dave Granlund on Bill O'Reilly and slaves
X 1/92
Color edit toon Bill O'Reilly and Slaves
Beeler Hillary herd
Color edit toon DNC and Russia hacking
Granlund DNC
Beeler Lincoln
Color edit toon Cruz snubs Trump
Color edit toon Trump Running mate
Screen Shot 2016-07-20 at 4.24.57 PM
Screen Shot 2016-07-20 at 4.24.48 PM
Screen Shot 2016-07-20 at 4.24.35 PM
Beeler Melania
Landgren Trump butterflies
COLOR edit toon Mrs Trump & plagiarism
Beeler Pence
Beeler Cleveland
Color edit toon Justice Ginsburg vs Trump 2016
Beeler Ginsburg
Color edit toon Trump and VP choice
Dave Granlund on Bernie's endorsement
Nate Beeler on Trump's co-pilot
Dave Granlund cartoon on America
Dave Granlund cartoon on Hillary & FBI Report
Nate Beeler on Hillary and Benghazi
Dave Granlund on Trump's speed bumps
Dave Granlund on the GOP Benghazi report
Beeler Obama immigration
Beeler Brexit Trump
Color edit toon UK exiting EU
Color Edit toon Gun control and sit-in
Beeler Obamacare
Beeler Gun control
Color edit toon Trump and low funds
Color edit toon Gun Lobby and Congress
Color edit toon Rubio reconsidering
Color edit toon McCain blaming Obama
Color edit toon Trump & Circus
Nate Beeler cartoon on Trump's assault weapon
Color edit toon Lone wolf terrorist
160610beelertoon_c copy
160609beelertoon_c copy
Color edit toon Hillary and glass ceiling
beeler trump justice
Color edit toon Bernie 2016 fights on
Beeler Trump Ryan
Color edit toon Ryan for Trump
Beeler Trump
Color edit toon Trump & CA water fix
Beeler Hillary email evasions
Color edit toon Trump & GOP unity
Color edit toon Bernie and red meat
Color edit toon VA Hospitals & Disney
Color edit toon Trump 2016 RINO
Beeler VA secretary McDonald
Beeler Trump amoeba
Beeler Obama war
Bill Clinton HOPE
Don Landgren Jimmy Kimmel
Beeler Trump endorse
Beeler Hillary email
Granlund cartoon Trump & Bernie outsiders
Granlund Getting behind Trump2016
Beeler Trump bathroom
Beeler cartoon: Obama and Media
Granlund toon: Bernie and fossils
Trump unites GOP
Ryan and Trump
Trump runs over GOP
Women and the draft
Hillary & coal miners
Cruz drops out
Bin Laden gone 5 yrs
Trump stamp
Trump card
Feel the burn
Trump sweeping
Cruz & Kasich team up
Cruz & Fiorina 2016
Big government slaveowners
GOP 2016 in pieces
Tubman on the 20
Russian jet flybys
Cruz strategist
Kasich and victim blaming
Ted Cruz's plan
Bernie & Hillary turf
Trump's Zika plan
VA Unknown soldier
Trump crooked system
Contested convention
Black hole Trump
Ryan GOP 2016 NO
Dave Granlund cartoon on America
Dave Granlund on the Brexit
Dave Granlund on Trump sweeping
Dave Granlund on the Cruz-Kasich plan
Dave Granlund on Cruz-Fiorina
Nate Beeler on the government
Landgren cartoon: Tubman on the 20
Granlund cartoon: Russian jet flybys
Granlund cartoon: Cruz strategist
Beeler cartoon: Kasich and victim blaming
Beeler cartoon: Cruz plan