Donald Trump has only kind words for his rivals

Story highlights

  • Donald Trump was one of eight GOP presidential hopeful's to participate in a prime-time debate Tuesday night with Fox Business network
  • Trump spoke to MSNBC as well as used Twitter to praise his opponents and the debate's moderators
  • Trump is traditionally more associated with a more combative tone and has fought with debate moderators throughout the election cycle

(CNN)The morning after the fourth Republican debate, Donald Trump is playing Mr. Nice Guy.

During a lengthy interview on MSNBC's "Morning Joe," Trump refused multiple opportunities to jab any of his opponents.
He instead struck a conciliatory tone, saying he "didn't think anybody did poorly," and noting that the GOP candidates were "getting better" with each passing debate. He also had some faint praise for chief rival Ben Carson, saying, "I thought he was good." He said other opponents like Jeb Bush "couldn't be nicer."
    And the business mogul was effusive in his praise of Fox Business Network, who hosted the debate following a performance by CNBC moderators in the previous debate that was widely panned by its participants and other Republicans.
    Asked by MSNBC whether he would let Ben Carson run one of his companies -- a wink at an attack Trump launched at Marco Rubio days earlier -- Trump passed on the opportunity to hit the retired neurosurgeon. He quipped, "I'd let him operate on a friend of mine -- not necessarily me, but a friend of mine," before conceding that he would let him run one of his companies.
    Earlier that morning, Trump used Twitter with much the same message, crowning himself the winner of the debate and lavishing praise on its moderators.
    The GOP front-runner tweeted: "Loved doing the debate...won Drudge and all on-line polls! Amazing evening, moderators did an outstanding job."
    Trump was similarly magnanimous the previous evening, telling CNN's Dana Bash immediately after the debate that he thought the moderators were "elegant" and that "they really did a great job."
    "I thought it was great. I thought the moderators were elegant. I thought the questions were really, really on point," Trump said, adding, "I thought it was a great night...Actually, the word is elegant."