- The Washington Times - Sunday, January 17, 2016

With just two weeks before the Iowa caucuses, the battle between Republican presidential candidates Donald Trump and Sen. Ted Cruz is getting personal.

During an interview Sunday on ABC’s “This Week,” Mr. Trump took shots at Mr. Cruz’s character, saying the Texas senator is a “nasty guy” and a “hypocrite” and that “nobody likes him.”

“Look, the truth is, he’s a nasty guy. He was so nice to me. I mean, I knew it. I was watching. I kept saying, ‘Come on, Ted. Let’s go, OK.’ But he’s a nasty guy. Nobody likes him. Nobody in Congress likes him. Nobody likes him anywhere once they get to know him,” the real estate mogul said.

Mr. Trump accused the Texan of having “an edge that’s not good. You can’t make deals with people like that, and it’s not a good thing. It’s not a good thing for the country. Very nasty guy.”

Mr. Trump’s biting comments came three days after the two men — who are in a dead heat in Iowa, according to most polls — clashed on stage at Thursday’s Republican presidential primary debate.

They fought over, among other things, Mr. Cruz’s assertion that Mr. Trump represents and adheres to “New York values” that are foreign to many Americans across the country.

At Thursday’s debate, Mr. Trump said New York is a great place with wonderful people, and that everybody in the world loved New York and New Yorkers in the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

For his part, Mr. Cruz has argued that Mr. Trump is feigning outrage at the “New York values” comment. During an interview on “Fox News Sunday,” he reiterated the fact that Mr. Trump himself has spoken of New York values in past interviews.

“It strikes me as curious now that he is displaying such outrage,” Mr. Cruz said, hinting that Mr. Trump’s attacks are motivated purely by politics.

A chorus of New York politicians joined Mr. Trump at the weekend in denouncing Mr. Cruz.

Speaking to reporters outside his office Mayor Bill de Blasio said he was “disgusted at the insult that Ted Cruz threw at this city and its people, and the bottom line is he does not in the least understand New York and its values.”

“I find myself for once in agreement with Donald Trump. I think it was right for Donald Trump to defend New York City and to talk about the heroic actions of the people of this city after 9/11. I think Ted Cruz owes the people of this city an apology. He owes the first responders an apology,” the mayor said.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo tweeted that “if @tedcruz had any class, he’d apologize to the people of New York, not that we need or want it.”

Added Democratic presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton, who once represented New York in the U.S. Senate: “Just this once, Trump’s right: New Yorkers value hard work, diversity, tolerance, resilience, and building better lives for our families.”

Mr. Trump also said Sunday that Mr. Cruz is a hypocrite for bad-mouthing New York while accepting money from wealthy New Yorkers, including a loan from Goldman Sachs during his U.S. Senate bid.

“Oh, he’s a total hypocrite. How about his fundraising and how about when he does his personal financial disclosure form, and he doesn’t put on that he’s borrowing money from Goldman Sachs and then today it comes out that he’s also borrowing money from Citi Bank and he doesn’t list it?” Mr. Trump said. “You know why? He wants to look like Robin Hood. That he’s the one protecting the people from the banks while he’s actually borrowing money and personally guaranteeing it.”

⦁ David Sherfinski contributed to this report.

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