By Arun Kumar
Washington, Feb 5 : A day after accusing rival Ted Cruz of stealing the first Republican nomination contest in Iowa by fraud and asking for a rematch in the state, Donald Trump is now focused on the next battle in New Hampshire.
“I’m so much into this, into New Hampshire, that I just – I don’t care about that anymore,” he told CNN Thursday in Manchester, New Hampshire, five days before the Feb 9 primary contest there. “This is the place I’m focused on now.”
The billionaire Republican frontrunner had let loose a tirade of angry tweets accusing the Texas senator of committing “fraud” in Iowa over Cruz campaign’s controversial actions over a CNN report about retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson going home for a “change of clothes” after the Iowa caucuses.
Some Cruz allies shared that news widely on the night of the caucuses, including to Carson supporters, but did not include the part about Carson remaining in the race. Cruz has since apologized to Carson.
Trump told CNN Thursday that some “strange things” appeared to have happened in Iowa, and that the Cruz campaign’s actions likely hurt him more than Carson.
“I like Ben Carson very much and he got pretty roughed up, frankly,” Trump said. “Although it affected me maybe more than Ben.” But Trump added: “Who cares?”
He also laughed off Cruz’s comment that Trump had thrown a “Trumper-tantrum” after Iowa. “I actually like that phrase,” he said. “That’s good, I better trademark it.”
Meanwhile, after their poor showing in Iowa, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and former Florida governor Jeb Bush have joined forces to discredit Senator Marco Rubio, who finished a strong third in Iowa, according to the New York Times.
Over the last two days Christie has mocked Rubio “as a cosseted ‘boy in the bubble,’ derided him as ‘constantly scripted,’ likened him to ‘the king of England,’ and, perhaps most creatively, compared his Senate career to that of a helpless fourth grader who is told which chair to sit in at school,” the Times said.
Christie and Bush’s shared concern over the rise of Rubio “has even prompted the opening of a back channel: Members of the Bush and Christie campaigns have communicated about their mutual desire to halt Rubio’s rise in the polls,” the influential daily said citing Republican operatives familiar with the conversations.
(Arun Kumar can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)