Real-estate mogul Donald Trump took another apparent shot at presidential rival and Sen. Ted Cruz’s (R-Texas) Cuban ancestry at a Tuesday-night rally.
“To the best of my knowledge, not too many evangelicals come out of Cuba, OK? Just remember that, OK? Just remember,” Trump said while speaking at an event in Council Bluffs, Iowa.
Trump made the comments while discussing his Iowa poll numbers relative to Cruz’s and touting that he has the same “values” as Iowa voters.
“When you’re casting your ballot, remember,” the Republican presidential front-runner added.
Trump’s statement was almost identical to what he said earlier in the month, just as Cruz started to overtake him in some of the polls of the Iowa GOP caucus. At the time, Trump claimed to be an evangelical himself before highlighting the fact that the senator’s father is Cuban.
“We’re doing really well with the evangelicals,” Trump said then. “And by the way, and again, I do like Ted Cruz, but not a lot of evangelicals come out of Cuba, in all fairness. It’s true. Not a lot come out. But I like him nevertheless.”
Trump’s comments were also very similar to what he said about the religious background of another candidate, retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, just as Carson was challenging Trump’s dominance in Iowa polls earlier this year. Evangelical voters carry an outsize influence in the Iowa Republican caucus.
“I’m Presbyterian. Boy, that’s down the middle of the road, folks, in all fairness,” Trump said then. “I mean, Seventh-day Adventist, I don’t know about. I just don’t know about.”
Cruz frequently jokes that he is Southern Baptist even though his parents’ backgrounds are from traditionally Catholic countries. “I’m Cuban, Irish, and Italian, and yet somehow I ended up Southern Baptist,” Cruz said at one event, for example.