Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump said today that his opponent, Sen. Ted Cruz "finally went off the wagon a little bit and went a little crazy" for attacking Trump this week -- calling him "a great hypocrite" for taking and failing to disclose loans that have come to light in recent days.
"He obviously didn't want the voters to know that he is totally controlled lock, stock and barrel by Citibank and by Goldman Sachs, and I think that's very hypocritical, to be honest with you —- I think it's very hypocritical," Trump said to applause from about a thousand people who came to his appearance today as part of a "No B.S. Backyard BBQ" series held by former Sen. Scott Brown, a Republican who represented Massachusetts but now lives in New Hampshire.
Trump also hit Cruz for criticizing him for embodying "New York values," citing New Yorkers' resilience after the September 11, 2001, attacks and the firefighters who came from across the United States to help.
"They run into the buildings, and they're running up the stairs and they knew it could collapse, everyone knew it could collapse, and the buildings are coming down, first building, second building, and you have people running up the stairs,” Trump said. "And Ted Cruz criticizes New York and the people of New York. It's a disgrace — I think it's a total disgrace. A total disgrace. So you know, I had to say it, I thought what he said was very sad."
Earlier today, Cruz fired back at Trump for his claims that Cruz's definition of New York values is offensive.
"It really was curious to see Donald Trump begin the day with a passionate defense of Hillary Clinton and Andrew Cuomo and Bill de Blasio. Interesting decision for him to make," Cruz said. "Given the fact that for much of his life Donald was financially supporting those politicians, writing checks to Hillary Clinton, writing checks to Andrew Cuomo, it's a fair inference that he supports their policy. So I understand that he is feeling defensive about my observation."
Today’s clash between the two men began this morning with a series of tweets sent by Trump blasting Cruz. Cruz responded to the tweets by telling reporters that it showed Trump wasn't the "stable and steady" type of person a commander-in-chief should be.
"It seems Donald has a lot of nervous energy –- it seems Donald doesn't react well when he's going down in the polls," Cruz said before a stop in Ft. Mill, S.C. "You know in terms of a commander in chief, I think we ought to have someone who isn't springing out of bed and tweeting in response to the latest polls. Stable and steady and a calm hand to keep this country safe."
Cruz said Trump's record doesn’t match the conservative values he's espoused.
"Have you consistently stood for the principles you say you stood for? That is exactly what the men and women of South Carolina are saying, it’s exactly what the men and women of Iowa of New Hampshire are assessing, they're looking at the records of the candidates. I would note that Donald’s record does not match what he says as a candidate. And that’s what the primary process is all about,”Cruz said.
In a moment of humor, Cruz and his team got stuck in an elevator on the way to the stage of their Ft. Mill, S.C., event. When the elevator doors were pried open, a smiling Cruz emerged and joked, “Who put Donald Trump in charge of the elevator?”
Trump was the ninth candidate to stop by Brown's "No BS Backyard BBQ" series. The events have frequently taken place in a nearby barn and actually included barbecue —- but today, a larger crowd poured into a Toyota dealership cleared of its cars and devoid of any barbecue. Instead, as snow fell outside, attendees were treated to what Brown called "modified barbecue" — donuts and coffee from Dunkin’ Donuts.