GOP presidential contender Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas at the start of the Rally for Religious Liberty in Des Moines, Iowa, on Aug. 21. The Cruz presidential campaign has the most to gain from Donald Trump's roundly-condemned pitch to temporarily ban Muslims from entering the U.S., several Cruz Iowa backers said in separate phone interviews. Daniel Acker Bloomberg
GOP presidential contender Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas at the start of the Rally for Religious Liberty in Des Moines, Iowa, on Aug. 21. The Cruz presidential campaign has the most to gain from Donald Trump's roundly-condemned pitch to temporarily ban Muslims from entering the U.S., several Cruz Iowa backers said in separate phone interviews. Daniel Acker Bloomberg

National

As Cruz vaults ahead in Iowa polls, Trump says he’s ‘a little bit of a maniac’

December 13, 2015 11:26 AM

UPDATED December 15, 2015 10:51 AM

WASHINGTON

Donald Trump, apparently feeling the heat from new Iowa polls that have him trailing GOP presidential rival Ted Cruz for the first time, turned on the Texas senator Sunday, saying he was “a little bit of a maniac.”

He’ll never get anything done and that’s the problem with Ted.

Donald Trump

In an appearance on Fox News Sunday, moderator Chris Wallace asked Trump about remarks Cruz made privately last week to donors, questioning Trump’s judgment.

“You notice he said it behind my back,” said Trump of the report in the New York Times. “Somebody taped that conversation. That’s OK. I don’t think he’s qualified to be president.”

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Asked why, Trump said, “Because I don’t think he has the right temperament. I don’t think he’s got the right judgment. You look at the way he’s dealt with the Senate – where he goes in there frankly like a little bit of a maniac. You’re never going to get things done that way. Look, I built a phenomenal business. I’m worth many many billions of dollars ...

“You can’t walk into the Senate and scream and call people liars and not be able to cajole and get along with people,” said Trump, alluding to Cruz’s high-friction relationships with fellow senators and his public accusation that Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., lied about making a deal on legislation Cruz opposed.

“He’ll never get anything done and that’s the problem with Ted.”

It is the first time that Trump has gone full-bore after Cruz. He wrote some relatively mild tweets in response to Cruz’s remarks last week but is now turning on his rival.