Elections

Miami has its moments in Republican presidential debate at UM

The 'civil' side of the Republican party reveals itself as GOP candidates defend plans for radicalism, the environment, and anger in America

In the last debate before Tuesday's primaries, Donald Trump, Gov. John Kasich, and Sens. Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz defended their stances on contested issues including radical Islam facing the U.S., environmental policy, and their take on angry Ame
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In the last debate before Tuesday's primaries, Donald Trump, Gov. John Kasich, and Sens. Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz defended their stances on contested issues including radical Islam facing the U.S., environmental policy, and their take on angry Ame

Miami made its presence known loud and clear in Thursday’s Republican presidential debate, held at the BankUnitedCenter at the University of Miami.

Donald Trump boasted of his Miami pals: “I’ve got many friends in Miami.’’

Miami Mayor Tomás Regalado, via CNN moderator Jake Tapper, asked the candidates to pledge to do something about climate change, and the flooded streets of South Florida.

Donald Trump, the Republican presidential front-runner walks the red carpet of the CNN spin room following the Republican presidential debate at the University of Miami on Thursday, March 10, 2016.

And Florida’s Marco Rubio talked about an older gentleman who was recovering from surgery but still took his aluminum chair to his Miami polling place to support him before Tuesday’s Florida primary.

Here, then, are the Miami moments from the debate:

Cuba

Marco Rubio: “I would love the relationship between the United States and Cuba to change, but that will require Cuba to change, at least its government. And today, it’s not.’’

About the new relations between the United States and Cuba: “Millions of dollars will flow to the Castro regime … but nothing will change for the Cuban people.’’

On Obama: “He asked nothing in return, and we are getting nothing in return.’’

“I don’t know where Cuba is going to sue us, but if they sue us in a court in Miami, they’re going to lose.” [Big round of applause]

Donald Trump: “What I want is a much better deal.”

But he hinted that a new era with Cuba was a good thing: “After 50 years, it’s enough time, folks.’’

Ted Cruz: He would reverse course.

Climate change

CNN Moderator Jake Tapper talked about how Miami Mayor Tomás Regalado wanted the candidates to pledge they would work toward reversing rising sea levels, and to acknowledge the scientific evidence that shows human actions are contributing to climate change. South Florida is ground zero for climate change.

Rubio: “I know the climate is changing and one of the reasons why the climate is changing is because the climate has always changed.’’

"On the issue of flooding in Miami it's caused by two things. Number one, South Florida was largely built on land that was once a swamp. And number two, because if there are higher sea levels, or whatever may be happening, we do need to deal with efforts in mitigation and I've long supported mitigation efforts."

"But as far as a law that we can pass in Washington to change the weather, there's no such thing." Laws, he added, would have “zero impact on the environment,” because China will still be polluting and India will still be polluting.

“America is not a planet, it’s a country. ... I am not going to destroy the U.S. economy for a law that will do nothing for our environment.’’

John Kasich: “I do believe we contribute to climate change.’’ He called for more solar energy, wind energy and developing renewable sources of energy.

“You can have a strong environmental policy at the same time that you have strong economic growth,” he said. “They are not inconsistent with one another.”

Immigration

Ted Cruz: “We’re going to build a wall, triple border patrol and end sanctuary cities.’’

Kasich: Of the 11.5 million immigrants who are here illegally, they need “ a path to legalization, not a path to citizenship.’’

Rubio: “I acknowledge my parents came to the U.S. on a family-based” immigration system in 1956. He said we need to move to a merit-based system on immigration, particularly on who receives green cards. Rubio’s criteria for coming in: “What skills do you have, what business are you going to open?’’

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