Republicans mock absent frontrunner

Published: 09:55 GMT, Jan 29, 2016 |

US Republican presidential candidates strained to take advantage of Donald Trump’s absence in Thursday’s presidential debate, mocking the frontrunner for boycotting the last contest before voting begins.

Trump withdrew from the final debate in Des Moines, Iowa, in a row with Fox News after the broadcaster refused to drop host Megyn Kelly, whom he accused of unfair treatment.

Texas Senator Ted Cruz, who is locked in a tight contest with Trump in Iowa, opened the event with a sarcastic impression of the real estate mogul’s frequent insults of his opponents.

“I’m a maniac and everyone on this stage is stupid, fat and ugly, and Ben, you’re a terrible surgeon,” Cruz told his rivals, including Ben Carson, a retired neurosurgeon. “Now that we’ve gotten the Donald Trump portion out of the way,” he continued.