Real-estate tycoon Donald Trump fired back at presidential rival and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Florida) for dismissing his campaign as a “freak show” on Monday.
“Rubio is a lightweight. We understand that. He wouldn’t be able to do this. He wouldn’t know a trade deal from any other deal,” Trump told reporters at a press conference unveiling his tax proposals.
Trump made the comment when he was asked to respond to Rubio’s NPR interview earlier in the day, during which the senator mocked his sensitivity to criticism.
“I’m not interested in the back-and-forth, to be a member of or part of his freak show. I would just say this: He is a very sensitive person. He doesn’t like to be criticised. He responds to criticism very poorly. He had a speech in South Carolina to an empty crowd,” Rubio said, apparently sticking to his new strategy of trying to get under Trump’s skin.
“His poll numbers have taken a beating, and he was embarrassed on national television at the debate by Carly Fiorina and others,” Rubio added. “But this election is not going to be about Donald Trump.”
The Monday trash-talk between the presidential contenders was only the latest in the recent hostilities between them. Trump, famous for dishing insults at his rivals, unleashed a storm of attacks after Rubio questioned his national-security knowledge last week.
Trump then dismissed the 44-year-old Rubio as a “kid” and a “clown,” attacked him for his poor Senate-attendance record, dismissed his poll numbers, criticised him for being disloyal to a political mentor (former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush), and even mocked him for sweating too much at the debate, among other things.
“Obviously, I’m not a fan of Marco Rubio from the standpoint that I think he talks quickly, but he doesn’t talk intelligently,” Trump explained to Business Insider in an interview last Thursday.
On Monday, Trump held back a bit after dismissing Rubio as a “lightweight.” The mogul simply attacked Rubio and the rest of the field for being beholden to their donors.
“Guys like Rubio, he desperately needs money. Ask the [billionaire Rubio donor and] car dealer in Florida. Ask the people that support him,” he said to the reporter who asked about Rubio. “And a guy like Rubio — and others, I don’t want to single him out, you’re singling him out — they’re largely controlled by their donors.”
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