With two new polls over the weekend showing Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) leading the Republican race in Iowa, Donald Trump for the first time moved to rebuff his GOP rival, labeling him a “little bit of a maniac” and raising questions about whether Cruz should even be Commander-in-Chief, as the Texas Senator becomes a major threat to Trump’s drive for the Republican nomination.
“I don’t think he’s qualified to be President,” Trump said on Fox News Sunday.
“I don’t think he has the right temperament,” Trump added, raising questions about how Cruz had conducted himself in the U.S. Senate.
“You look at the way he’s dealt with the Senate, where he goes in there, frankly, like a little bit of a maniac,” Trump added.
“That’s the problem with Ted,” Trump sums up.
Trump’s direct jabs at Cruz on the Sunday shows, and on the stump in recent days, was a major shift in his strategy, as for the first time, Cruz now represents a major threat to Trump’s pursuit of the Republican nomination.
Earlier this year when Ben Carson had surged ahead in the GOP race, Trump raised Carson’s Seventh Day Adventist religion by mentioning it at a rally; Trump did the same with Cruz in Iowa on Friday.
Over the weekend, Trump went ahead in the latest poll from the Des Moines Register newspaper, and also edged ahead of Cruz in a Fox News poll from Iowa.
The trends in the national polls also have Cruz on the move, though Trump remains the frontrunner.
Trump and Cruz will be standing next to each other on the main stage at Tuesday’s GOP debate in Las Vegas – we’ll see if Trump amplifies his criticism.