Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump pounced after Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad (R) said he hoped Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) does not win the Iowa caucus.
“Wow, the highly respected governor of Iowa just stated that, ‘Ted Cruz must be defeated. ‘Big shocker!” Trump exclaimed Tuesday on Twitter.
“People do not like Ted,” the real-estate mogul added of Cruz, currently his top presidential rival.
According to The Des Moines Register, Branstad said it would be “a mistake” for his state to back Cruz because of the Texas senator’s opposition to ethanol subsidies. The subsidies help fund Iowa’s corn industry.
“Ted Cruz is ahead right now. What we’re trying to do is educate the people in the state of Iowa. He is the biggest opponent of renewable fuels,” Branstad said.
The governor continued: “He actually introduced a bill in 2013 to immediately eliminate the Renewable Fuel Standard. He’s heavily financed by Big Oil. So we think once Iowans realise that fact, they might find other things attractive but he could be very damaging to our state.”
Branstad reportedly said “yes” when asked if he wanted to see Cruz be defeated in the 2016 presidential race. The most recent polls have Cruz roughly tied with Trump in the February 1 Iowa caucus. The Hawkeye State’s voters are the first to weigh in on the Republican primary.
Trump, who has declared his support for ethanol subsidies, often criticises Cruz on the issue when speaking in Iowa. Trump is set to speak Tuesday at the Iowa Renewable Fuels Summit.
Cruz has stressed that he would like to phase out the subsidies over a number of years.
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