Even Republican presidential candidates who have declined to jump into the political fray and comment on Donald Trump’s frequent, headlining remarks are struggling to stay quiet, as the top GOP challenger continues to dominate the news cycles.
Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee has for weeks told Fox News and others that he would rather talk about his campaign than score political points by criticizing Trump. However, Trump’s comments about Fox anchor Megyn Kelly this weekend and reporters hunting for a reaction have practically forced a response.
Huckabee told ABC's "This Week" that other candidates are struggling to get out their message "because all the air in the balloon is going to Donald Trump right now."
On Saturday, at the RedState Gathering, an annual forum in Atlanta for conservative activists, Huckabee avoided commenting on Trump. But he also seemed exasperated by it all, snapping at reporters this weekend after being asked several Trump-related questions.
Kentucky GOP Sen. Rand Paul, who battled with Trump on Thursday night during the first primary debates of the 2016 presidential cycle, returned Sunday to his attack on Trump who has knocked fellow GOP candidate and former Texas Gov. Rick Perry and Vietnam veteran and Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain among others.
“I don't think vulgarity equates to insight,” Paul told “Fox News Sunday.” “Because you can shout and call … someone stupid or call someone fat, is that really what we're going to make the decision on for who is going to be our nominee?”
Paul also said he was elected to the Senate as part of the Tea Party movement, which was a response to “fake conservative” and Republicans who were for ObamaCare and the bank bailouts.
“Well, that's Donald Trump,” he said.
Earlier on the show, GOP candidate and former Hewlett-Packard chief executive Carly Fiorina said Trump has "no excuse" for attacking Kelly for her tough questions to him during the debate.
"It’s her job to ask tough questions," she said.
She also told CBS’ “Face the Nation” that she thinks “women of all kinds are really sort of horrified by this."
Trump, in response to Fiorina’s frequent criticism, told ABC’s “This Week” that she “doesn't discuss the fact that her tenure at Hewlett Packard was a disaster.”
Trump on Sunday also professed his love for women and said he would be their best advocate if elected president, dismissing the firestorm of his own making that has consumed the Republican presidential campaign.
Jeb Bush, the presidential favorite for many top Republican donors, said at the RedState event that Trump's bombast would hurt the GOP's chances with women, who already tilt toward Democrats in presidential elections.
"Do we want to win? Do we want to insult 53 percent of our voters?" the former Florida governor asked.
Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and Ohio Gov. John Kasich have still managed to largely avoid making comments about Trump.
"If I comment on everything he says, my whole campaign will be consumed by it," Rubio told NBC's "Meet the Press."
"He says something every day," Rubio also said.
Kasich took a similar tone, describing himself as a strong proponent of women, but avoiding criticizing Trump at length.
"I just don't want to be negative" he said on CNN.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.