Real-estate magnate Donald Trump did not take kindly to GOP presidential rival and Sen. Rand Paul’s (R-Kentucky) attack ad on Trump’s record.
In response to the online ad, Trump released a lengthy statement on Wednesday that, among other things, called Paul a “total mess,” noted his donation to a Paul-affiliated eye center, and trashed the senator’s golf skills during a recent game they played together.
“Recently, Rand Paul called me and asked me to play golf. I easily beat him on the golf course and will even more easily beat him now, in the world in the politics,” Trump said in the statement.
“Senator Paul does not mention that after trouncing him in golf I made a significant donation to the eye center with which he is affiliated.”
Paul’s campaign used the attack video to rail against Trump for past statements in which he praised some left-leaning policies and Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton. Trump attributed those past statements to the need to maintain good relations with politicians on both sides of the aisle.
Trump cited former President Ronald Reagan, the Republican icon who famously switched his party affiliation, in his defence, adding that only a “piece of unyielding granite” wouldn’t hold positions that evolve over time.
“Rand Paul is doing so poorly in the polls he has to revert to old footage of me discussing positions I no longer hold. As a world-class businessman, who built one of the great companies with some of the most iconic real estate assets in the world, it was my obligation to my family, my company, my employees and myself to maintain a strong relationship with all politicians whether Republican or Democrat. I did that and I did that well,” Trump said.
“Unless you are a piece of unyielding granite, over the years positions evolve as they have in my case. Ronald Reagan, as an example, was a Democrat with a liberal bent who became a conservative Republican.”
Paul has been sliding in polls over the past week, amid what many political observers portrayed as a lukewarm Republican presidential debate performance and turmoil among his political allies.
Last week, the Justice Department indicted two high-level aides working for a super PAC that supports Paul’s campaign. The indictment stemmed from their time working for the 2012 campaign of Paul’s father, Ron Paul.
Trump ended his statement with a quip in reference to the indictment.
“Rand’s campaign is a total mess, and as a matter of fact, I didn’t know he had anybody left in his campaign to make commercials who are not currently under indictment!” he said.
Paul’s campaign didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment from Business Insider. However, Doug Stafford, a top Paul adviser, released a lengthy statement to The Washington Post on Wednesday:
Wow, that took a while to read.
First, Ronald Reagan spent 20 years as a conservative before running for President, not twenty minutes. He changed out of conviction. He campaigned for Goldwater in 1964 giving one of the great conservative speeches of all time, setting the intellectual agenda for a generation of conservatives.
Donald Trump couldn’t set the intellectual conservative agenda of anything, not even the tiniest rooms, never mind a country. He is devoid of ideas other than he likes the idea of power and getting attention for foolish statements and bluster.
Rand Paul is the one following in the footsteps of Reagan, setting the intellectual agenda for a conservative movement of change. Rand stands for principle. He has detailed plans to end our debt by balancing the budget in 5 years. He has a detailed flat and fair tax that would be a huge tax cut for Americans while ending the corporate welfare gravy train for people like Donald Trump. He has real plans to defeat the Washington machine like term limits and forcing Congress to read the bills.
While he appreciates Donald’s golf skills, I will note that [the game] was on his home course that he plays often. And he does sincerely appreciate Donald’s generosity to the eye clinic. In fact he has mentioned it often, including in his op-ed and speeches this weekend.
The fact is, Rand is running to fight the big business, big government establishment. Donald Trump already represents one end of that problem. Now he wants to represent the other. It won’t work.
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