From the frontiers of party unity, a treat to end a long week. The key bit comes at 1:50:40 of the clip below. This is at least the second time he’s taken a shot at Cruz after Cruz stopped contesting the nomination, right? The first was when he continued to push the idea that Rafael Cruz had some sort of association with Lee Harvey Oswald the morning after the Indiana primary. Cruz hadn’t been out of the race more than 12 hours, making Trump the presumptive nominee, and Trump was still going after his family.
But okay. If he wants to continue to taking shots at other Republicans and alienating some of their hardcore fans, I’m happy to help promote it.
“But when I watched her speech last night it was so sad, because everything she said was, like, a lie,” he said later. “I wonder if I could start, instead of saying ‘Crooked Hillary,’ which is a very accurate description, I wonder if I could say — you know, remember lyin’, lyin’ — I won’t say ‘Lyin Ted’ — I refuse to say it.”
“Lyin’ Ted,” Mr. Trump said. “Holds that Bible high, puts it down and then he lies. Lyin’ Ted. Well, I’m going to retire that from Ted — I’m not going to call Ted that anymore.
Coincidentally, or maybe not coincidentally, Cruz had something to say this morning about whether it’s time to follow Marco Rubio’s lead and kneel before Zod. Not yet:
CAMPBELL: If Donald Trump is the nominee do you, Senator Ted Cruz, think that he can win?
CRUZ: Well, that’s going to be up to the voters. And that’s going to be a decision for the voters. What I hope is that we have a Republican nominee that will actually defend conservative principles…
CAMPBELL: This is something many of my listeners are struggling with. Should a true conservative, should a true conservative support Donald Trump if in fact he is the Republican nominee.
CRUZ: Well, that’s a decision that every voter is going to have to make. And it’s going to be a decision that is going have to come from prayer and careful examination as to whether he has demonstrated he has earned your vote. Whether he has demonstrated that he is standing for the principles that built this country. I am where I think a lot of voters are, which is looking and listening. I am deeply concerned for our country.
I assume Trump heard that and that’s what spurred him to take another shot at Cruz this afternoon, which is at least consistent with his “the beatings will continue until morale improves” strategy towards Republicans who’ve refused to endorse him so far. The alternative, that Trump is still taking shots at Cruz for fun even though Cruz’s support could help him soften up opposition from conservative ideologues, is too bizarre to process.
Another bit worth watching here, by the way, is Trump reminding the crowd at 1:37:15 that Putin is a strong leader who thinks Trump’s a genius, which is certainly not something Putin’s saying simply because he suspects Trump will be willing to cede American influence to Russia abroad. I haven’t seen a poll on this but I’d bet one’s view of Putin, whom Trump praises as a “strong leader,” strongly correlates with whether one’s onboard with the new nationalist strongman-led GOP or not. Strongly, but not perfectly. Right, Marco?