PORTSMOUTH, N.H. – The initial scuffles between Donald Trump and Ted Cruz have turned into a full-on fight as the top two GOP candidates continued trading blows on the campaign trail Saturday. In South Carolina, the Texas Senator questioned Trump's conservative credentials on the issues of abortion and gay marriage while the business mogul attacked Cruz over his undisclosed loans and comments demeaning “New York values."
In his Portsmouth event, Trump referenced Cruz's failure to disclose a 2012 loan in campaign finance reports, saying, “So as it turns out, he finally went off the wagon a little bit and went a little crazy. He’s being a great hypocrite.”
“You know he talks about he’s going to be Robin Hood, he’s protecting. Then finds out that on his personal disclosure form, he didn't disclose that he’s borrowing a lot of money from Goldman Sachs,” Trump said. "I don’t think it works that way so he obviously didn’t want the voters to know that he's totally controlled lock, stock and barrel by Citibank and Goldman Sachs and I think that’s very hypocritical, I'll be honest with you, I think it’s very, very hypocritical.”
Trump made the comments while attending former Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown’s “No BS Backyard BBQ” series — events where Brown invited each of the Republican presidential candidates to come and speak at or near his home in Rye, New Hampshire.
Trump slammed Cruz yet again for the Texas senator’s knock on “New York Values,” and reiterated his defense from the debate about the strength New Yorkers showed on 9/11.
“You know cities are cities, but they’re basically people, their brick and mortar and they’re people and he spoke very disparagingly about the people of New York,” Trump told the crowd. "And I've been with the people of New York for a long time, but when the World Trade Center came down I watched these incredible people rebuild from the day it came down. Literally they were there when other buildings in the surrounding area they thought were going to fall and you had people working trying to help, the most horrific sites you’ve ever seen, trying to help do whatever they could.”
“You have people running up the stairs as that’s happening,” Trump went on, “and Ted Cruz criticizing New York and the people of New York is a disgrace. I think it’s a total disgrace, a total disgrace. I thought what he said was very, very sad.”
Trump also sent tweets Saturday morning about Cruz’s loans, which Cruz fired back at.
“It seems Donald has a lot of nervous energy and for whatever reason, Donald doesn't react well when he’s going down in the polls,” Cruz told reporters while campaigning in South Carolina Saturday morning, continuing, "I think in terms of a commander-in-chief, we ought to have someone who isn’t springing out of bed to Tweet in a frantic response to the latest polls."
In Portsmouth, Trump also reacted to the reported news about American prisoners being released from Iran and questioned whether the United States was getting a poor bargain. “Now I have to see what the deal is for the four people because somebody said they’re getting 7. So essentially they’re getting $150 billion plus seven and we get four. Mmm, doesn’t sound too good, but we'll have to see because I just heard about this an hour ago.”
He added, “I’m happy they’re coming back, but I will tell you it’s been a disgrace that they’ve been there for so long, it's a disgrace, remember that, a total disgrace.”
On Friday night, conservative commentator Glenn Beck accused Trump of voting for President Obama in an interview with Fox News, and Trump also fired back at Beck during his Portsmouth remarks. “This dopey guy Glenn Beck… he’s like a dope and I watch him cry on television all the time. He’s doing very badly, his thing is falling apart, his company is falling apart.”
Brown introduced Trump at the event as “the next President of the United States,” something he’s said a few times before when hosting other Republican presidential candidates. Brown said he is still neutral in the presidential race, and will stay so until he has finished hosting candidates, but will make an endorsement soon. As for Trump, Brown told reporters, “he’s up there and there are some great people running. We’ve had just a great time with our BBQ series.” Brown’s gatherings with presidential candidates are generally held in Brown’s backyard, or in the barn of a friend nearby, but they moved Trump’s event to a Toyota dealership due to weather and the larger expected crowd.
Snow was pouring down outside while the crowd gathered for Trump, and the real estate mogul questioned whether he will actually be able to take off and leave. “We don’t have snow like this in New York,” he said. “We are supposed to be lifting off, I don’t think the plane is going to be lifting off.”