Real-estate mogul Donald Trump didn’t let up on Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) just hours after they finished brawling during the Fox Business Network debate.
“I thought Ted did not have a good night last night. And I thought his hit on New York was disgraceful, frankly, and I guess a lot of people are saying that from what I hear,” Trump said Thursday on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”
“Because I haven’t been to sleep yet,” he added, speaking in Iowa after debating in South Carolina.
The previous night, Cruz and Trump traded blows on various topics. The two had long refused to criticise each other, but that détente is clearly over now.
Trump told the “Morning Joe” hosts that he was particularly offended by Cruz bashing his “New York values,” which the Texas senator described as socially liberal. As he did during the debate, Trump urged voters to instead think about the September 11, 2001, terror attacks.
“Think about the fireman that were running up the stairs, … they’re coming in and they go up to try and save people. And they know that building has got a big chance of coming down by that time. And the policemen and all of these guys are going up,” he said.
Trump, the Republican front-runner, also had an aggressive exchange with Cruz over his claim that Cruz might not be eligible to be president. Cruz was born in Canada to an American mother, and many legal scholars believe that is enough to qualify him as a “natural-born” citizen under the Constitution.
But Trump has repeatedly argued that Cruz might not meet that threshold. Cruz countered during the debate by saying Trump was only questioning his eligibility because Trump’s lead in Iowa polls had melted away just weeks before the February 1 caucus.
“He came at me last night,” Trump recalled Thursday. “It was inappropriate. And I hit him very hard. But I had no idea that he was going to take it that way.”
He added: “I think he hurt himself last night. You know he’s a good debater, but he’s very strident. And a lot of people aren’t going to like that. He’s a very strident kind of a guy.”
Later during the “Morning Joe” interview, Trump again knocked Cruz for his “strident” debate performance.
“I thought Cruz hurt himself last night very badly,” he said. “People are not going to like him based on that performance last night.”
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