NORWALK, Iowa — Spending a second consecutive day in Iowa — a rarity for him in the campaign — presidential candidate Donald Trump on Wednesday continued to assail fellow Republican front-runner Ted Cruz, sustaining the heat on the competitive GOP race in the first-in-the-nation caucus state.
Trump raised questions of whether Cruz, who was born in Canada, is eligible to serve as president and criticized his ties to the banking firm Goldman Sachs.
“So he’s got a double problem,” Trump said.
Trump’s newly minted supporter, former Alaska governor and vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin, did not speak at Wednesday’s event, despite campaign promotions saying Trump’s “special guest” would be there. Palin was scheduled to appear with Trump at an event later Wednesday in Oklahoma.
Trump’s campaign spokeswoman did not respond to a request for comment.
Palin appeared with Trump on Tuesday night in Ames, praising him as “someone new who has the power and is in the position to bust up that (political) establishment and make things great again.”
During Trump’s remarks Wednesday in Norwalk, he gave his usual stump speech and devoted some time to lambasting the media, at one point breaking from his remarks to ask a television camera operator why his camera was pointed in the direction it was.
But Trump’s biggest target was Cruz, the U.S. senator from Texas who has overtaken Trump for the lead in recent polling on the GOP race in Iowa.
One of Trump’s biggest selling points to potential supporters is that because of his wealth he is largely able to fund his own campaign and thus is not beholden to donors.
Trump coupled that with his criticism of Cruz and in particular Cruz’s personal loan that he used to help fund his 2012 Senate campaign and that was underwritten by Goldman Sachs.
“Goldman Sachs owns (Cruz). Remember that, folks. They own him,” Trump said. “It’s wrong. It’s wrong. It’s really wrong. … What’s he going to do, be tough on Goldman Sachs when he has a personal guarantee (loan) for $1 million?”
Trump also expressed doubt that Cruz is eligible to serve as president and claimed those who are opposed to a Cruz presidency may file lawsuits if he becomes the Republican nominee or wins the 2016 general election.
Most legal experts agree Cruz, whose mother was a U.S. citizen at his birth, is eligible to serve as president.
Trump continued to pile on Cruz, noting Republican Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad on Tuesday said he does not want Cruz to win the Iowa caucuses because of Cruz’s desire to phase out the federal ethanol mandate.
“You have a great governor in this state. … For him to come out with that statement, that was a big statement,” Trump said. “(Tuesday) was two wins. You had Sarah Palin, and you had that statement. …
“(Tuesday) was a good day for Trump.”