Fists clenched. Guns blazing. Tongue haranguing. Donald Trump resumed the campaign with claims Cruz ‘stole’ Iowa – the first stop on the road to the nomination – using ‘fraud’ and unethical tactics.
Trump did not need much time after the Iowa caucus to recharge his hot-firing campaign jets. He wasted no time as he launched into Senator Ted Cruz for two last-minute, allegedly underhanded campaign tactics that Trump believes unfairly influenced the outcome in Iowa.
Trump indicated that the Cruz campaign has admitted they spread false rumors that Dr Ben Carson had quit the race and they invited his followers to support Cruz. Dr Carson, in fact, had not quit the race. Trump asserted that, “Many people voted for Cruz over Carson because of this Cruz fraud.”
Senator Cruz apologized for his campaign’s emails to Carson’s supporters claiming the doctor had withdrawn. Cruz called it “a mistake.”
Said Cruz, “Last night when out political team saw the CNN post saying that Dr. Carson was not carrying on to New Hampshire and South Carolina, our campaign updated grassroots leaders just as we would with any breaking news story. That’s fair game. What the team then should have done was send around the follow-up statement from the Carson campaign clarifying that he was indeed staying in the race when that came out.”
Dr Carson said it was “really quite a dirty trick.” Although he later accepted the Cruz apology, he did call for the Cruz campaign staffer who sent out the message to be fired.
“I think whoever is responsible for blatant lying should be dismissed, absolutely,” he said. “Unless that kind of behavior is acceptable in your campaign culture.”
Trump also referenced the use of a letter sent by the Cruz campaign that appeared to be an official warning of a “Voting Violation” by the recipient. The official-looking mailer contained the names of five immediate neighbors and assigned a voting grade and score to all the names. All the grades and scores were F’s and D’s. Although the letter was not illegal, many felt that the use of names in this manner was a sledgehammer tactic that bordered on infringement of privacy rights, potential libel and intimidation. See detailed story here.
Cruz said he would not apologize for this letter as he felt anything that would get people to vote is acceptable.
If this glimpse into how Cruz runs his campaign – using such tactics and tricks – is any indication of how Cruz would run his administration, perhaps another infamous Republican, ‘Tricky Dick’ Nixon, would be proud.
Trump directed another complaint at the media. He felt he didn’t get the credit he deserved for even finishing in second place in Iowa.
“On June 16th, when we started this journey, there were 17 candidates. I was told by everybody, ‘Do not go to Iowa, you could never finish even in the top 10,’” he said. “They said, ‘Don’t do it.’ I said “I have to do it.’ And we finished second.”
As a result of such warnings, Trump maintained he didn’t spend that much money or effort in Iowa.
He also felt that his accomplishment was under-appreciated as he has been portrayed as losing, while the media has given Rubio a victory for finishing a close third.