Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) on Wednesday fired off a string of insults aimed at Donald Trump, who earlier in the day accused him of “fraud” in Iowa and threatened to sue over the caucus results there earlier this week.
Keying in on Trump’s supposed poor “temperament,” Cruz suggested that if Trump were president, he might spontaneously decide to “nuke Denmark.” Cruz argued that Trump isn’t the best person to keep Americans safe.
His comments, made to reporters in New Hampshire, came after Trump unleashed a raging tweetstorm Wednesday morning morning attacking Cruz and saying he “stole” his Monday-night win at the Iowa Republican caucuses.
Cruz called the tweetstorm a “Trump-er tantrum” and said: “I wake up every day and laugh at the latest thing he’s tweeted, because he’s losing it.”
We need a commander-in-chief, not a Twitterer-in-chief. We need someone with judgment and the temperament to keep this country safe. I don’t know anyone who would be comfortable with someone who behaves this way having his finger on the button. I mean, we’re liable to wake up one morning, and Donald, if he were president, would have nuked Denmark. That’s not the temperament of a leader to keep this country safe.
We need a president who will have the back of our fighting men and women — who will have their back and will be clear-eyed and focused on our enemies, on radical Islamic terrorism, and on defeating ISIS. That’s what I will do every day. And the American people are not interested in this circus sideshow of insults. You know, my girls are 5 and 7, and I’ve got to tell you, Caroline and Catherine are better behaved than a presidential candidate who responds by insulting everyone every day.
Cruz also said that Trump wants to “expand Obamacare,” which Trump has furiously denied. Trump mentioned Cruz’s Obamacare attacks during a radio interview on Wednesday. And after Cruz repeated his claims in New Hampshire, Trump fired off another tweet:
The Trump/Cruz feud goes back to the actions of Cruz allies on the night of Monday’s Iowa caucuses.
A third Republican candidate, Ben Carson, had reportedly signalled that he was going to speak early that night in order to fly home to Florida and rest. This was a somewhat unusual declaration, as most candidates were planning to rush to the next voting states.
Some Cruz supporters quickly speculated that Carson was about to leave the race. Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa), a prominent Cruz surrogate, wrote on Twitter: “Carson looks like he is out. Iowans need to know before they vote. Most will go to Cruz, I hope.”
Cruz later apologised to Carson and said his team should have circulated Carson’s statement denying the rumours.
The Texas senator ultimately won the caucuses even though Trump had been leading polls for weeks before the voting started.
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