Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) is ramping up his attacks on Donald Trump as the February 1 Iowa caucus approaches.
On Monday evening, The New York Times reported that Cruz launched his first attack on Trump unprompted at a campaign event.
Many of the barbs reported by The Times were echoed by Cruz’s Monday appearance on “The Kuhner Report,” a Boston-based talk-radio show.
There, Cruz launched wide array of criticism against the Republican presidential front-runner.
In 16 minutes of that radio interview, Cruz hit Trump for bragging about his deal-making ability, for voicing support for the so-called bank bailout, for praising President Barack Obama’s stimulus package, for once supporting universal healthcare, for giving money to Democrats, for not speaking out when Congress was debating “amnesty,” for contributing to the Clinton Foundation, for supposedly flip-flopping too recently on the issues, and for once touting socially liberal views, among other things.
“Donald seems very rattled right now,” Cruz reflected. “He has been launching an awful lot of attacks in the last couple of days. And it seems every time his poll numbers go down, he gets angrier and angrier. And he lashes out.”
Trump has dominated polls of the country and of almost every state, but in recent weeks Cruz has surged in Iowa to roughly tie the real-estate mogul there among likely caucus-goers. And indeed, Trump has aggressively lashed out at Cruz on a host of issues after a long détente between them.
“Ted Cruz is falling in the polls. He is nervous. People are worried about his place of birth and his failure to report his loans from banks!” Trump exclaimed Monday on Twitter.
“Wow, new polls just out have Trump up and Cruz down — he is a nervous wreck!” he added Tuesday morning.
Trump has repeatedly and constantly questioned Cruz’s eligibility to be president because the Constitution has a “natural-born” citizen requirement and Cruz was born in Canada. Most legal scholars believe Cruz meets that test because his mother was a US citizen at the time of his birth. But Trump isn’t so sure.
“I don’t think Ted Cruz can even run for president until he can assure Republican voters that being born in Canada is not a problem. Doubt!” Trump declared on Monday.
The billionaire businessman has also repeatedly attacked Cruz for not properly reporting two bank loans that were used to finance his 2012 Senate campaign. Cruz has dismissed the issue as a “paperwork error.”
“It is a ridiculous charge,” Cruz said on the radio show Monday.
“I don’t come from wealth,” he added as he explained why he needed the loans. “Unlike Donald, I didn’t inherit millions of dollars. Instead, my dad came as an immigrant from Cuba with nothing, with $100 in his underwear.”
Cruz further said it was hypocritical for Trump to criticise him for being too close to the big banks. Cruz pointed out that Trump once stated support for the Troubled Asset Relief Program, the bank bailout opposed by many conservative activists. According to PolitiFact, Trump also doubted whether it would work.
“It is more than a little rich for Mr. Trump to make that accusation. You want to assess who stands with Wall Street? Then look at the actual records of the candidates,” Cruz said.
Cruz also pointed to Trump once stating support for Obama’s economic stimulus package and for once backing the concept of universal healthcare. Trump has since backed off that position and now is one of Obamacare’s biggest critics.
“Now that is very much a record of standing with Wall Street and the giant banks,” Cruz said. “My record is exactly the opposite: We should have no bailouts, ever. Period. The end.”
Trump also raised a new issue against Cruz over the weekend. Trump called Cruz a “very nasty guy” whom nobody could work with in Washington.
Cruz tried to flip that charge against Trump.
“If you think the problem with Republicans is they haven’t made enough deals — they haven’t been willing to get along with Democrats enough, and give in to Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi enough — then maybe his critique has some force,” Cruz said Monday on “The Kuhner Report,” referring to the US senator from New York and the House minority leader.
He later added: “If you want yet another Republican to cosy up to Chuck Schumer — by the way, he’s written checks to Chuck Schumer, I never have — then you ought to be backing him. But if you think we need Republicans who are willing to stand up to Washington, then this decision becomes far, far easier.”
Cruz’s campaign has also done its best to promote a 1999 “Meet the Press” interview, in which Trump stated that his New York background comported with socially liberal views. Trump notes on the campaign trail that former President Ronald Reagan was also once a Democrat.
“He explained that on abortion, he is very, very pro-choice,” Cruz recalled Monday. “And indeed that he supports partial-birth abortion. He also said that he was open to gay marriage. And his explanation to both of those: He said, ‘I’m a New Yorker.'”
Despite all of this, Cruz also stressed that he didn’t want to get into a “food fight” with Trump, and that he wouldn’t be “responding in kind” to Trump’s insults.
Listen to Cruz rip into Trump below:
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