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We are less than a month away from the Iowa Caucuses on February 1st. And with such a short amount of time remaining until the first ballots are cast in the race, Roland Martin asked Wednesday’s NewsOne Now panel – why are GOP candidates “absolutely afraid” to take on Donald Trump?

“I can’t recall the last time candidates were afraid to criticize the frontrunner. Afraid to criticize him on policy,” Martin explained to the panel.

“It’s as if he’s totally punked the entire GOP field,” said Martin.

NewsOne Now panelist Dr. Wilmer Leon believes the Republican presidential candidates seem to be backing down from Trump because he “is speaking to the very section of the country Republicans have been courting since President Obama came into office.”

“The problem for them with Donald Trump is, he is no longer speaking in code language — he’s speaking very clear direct English — now everybody can understand him to be the hateful racist that they are,” said Dr. Leon.

He added, “Trump saying, ‘I want to make America great again’ is like Tom Credo saying, ‘We want our country back.'” Wilmer continued, “All of this stuff about Muslims and all of this stuff about Hispanics — it’s no longer coded language, it’s very clear for everyone to understand.”

Angela Rye told Martin, “Republican candidates have pushed back against Donald Trump when they’ve disagreed with him … I think we can very easily read into their lack of criticism beyond immigration initially, when it was directly tied to Jeb Bush’s wife.”

Watch Martin and the NewsOne Now panel discuss Republican presidential candidates’ refusal to attack GOP frontrunner Donald Trump in the video clip above.

Don’t miss Angela Rye’s shut down of GOP strategist Gianno Caldwell captured in the GIFs below. To simply sum it up, it was priceless.

TV One’s NewsOne Now has moved to 7 A.M. ET, be sure to watch “NewsOne Now” with Roland Martin, in its new time slot on TV One.

Subscribe to the “NewsOne Now” Audio Podcast on iTunes.

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WATCH: Donald Trump Says Hillary Clinton “Got Schlonged” In First Presidential Bid

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