Texas Sen. Ted Cruz cut loose in an appearance on Glen Beck’s radio show Tuesday, belittling Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump as a child of privilege who grew up to be a wannabe mobster, and claiming there is now “a consistent pattern ... of Donald and his henchmen pushing for violence.”
The attack on Trump came just days after the billionaire’s newly hired convention manager, Paul Manafort, accused Cruz of using “Gestapo tactics” to sway delegates to the Republican nominating convention in Cleveland this summer.
In his retaliatory remarks, Cruz cited a fictional purveyor of violence rather than historical ones.
“Donald needs to understand that he’s not Michael Corleone,” Cruz said. “I understand that Donald has had some very shady business deals with people that are currently in prison. Mobsters. But the presidency should not be La Cosa Nostra ... Donald Trump keeps hiring people with records of dirty tricks, lies and threats of violence.”
Cruz blasted Trump for appearing to support violence at his own rallies, predicting riots if he is denied the nomination.
“Donald needs to stop threatening the voters. He needs to stop threatening the delegates. He is not a mobster.”
Criticizing Trump’s past comments that appeared to advocate violence against protesters at his rallies, Cruz added, “No politician has the right to threaten violence against American citizens. Even lefty numbskulls are American citizens and you don’t threaten violence against them.”
The Texas senator, who still trails Trump in both pledged delegates and in national opinion polls of GOP voters, suggested that Trump’s history of wealth and privilege has left him detached from reality as other people experience it.
“Donald has been surrounded by sycophants his entire business career,” he said. “He was born into great wealth and privilege ... at every stage, when he told a joke, everyone in the room laughed. Whether it was funny or not, you had to laugh.”
He also added a dig at one of his former competitors, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who has since endorsed Trump.
“Look at the humiliation he inflicts on people like Chris Christie,” Cruz said, adding that the New Jersey governor is “a good man” whom he personally likes. Yet, Cruz plainly enjoyed commenting on the “servility” of Christie in Trump’s presence and his new tendency to address the frontrunner as “Mr. Trump” instead of “Donald.”
“Chris Christie right now is trapped in his own private hell,” he said, discussing a widely remarked-on press conference in which Christie was forced to stand behind Trump as the billionaire delivered a rambling speech. “When Chris was standing behind Trump holding his jacket, the look in his eyes, you could see the screaming.”
As he has done in the past, Cruz continued to claim that he is confident that the GOP nomination will not be decided until the convention and that his superior organization will give him the advantage he needs to win there in July.
He even suggested that Trump, who has run a very lean campaign, may never have really expected to be president.
“I think there’s a real chance that this was a lark, this was ‘Let’s get some publicity, let’s have some fun’” Cruz said, adding that when he began to have some success, “I think he was a surprised as anybody.”