Businessman Donald Trump has responded to recent attacks from Sen. Rand Paul by reminding Mr. Paul that he recently beat him at golf and saying the Kentucky Republican has no chance of winning the 2016 GOP presidential nomination.
Mr. Paul’s campaign had released an ad that includes old footage of Mr. Trump saying that “in many cases, I probably identify more as a Democrat” and another clip calling former Secretary of State and 2016 Democratic front-runner Hillary Rodham Clinton a “terrific woman.”
Mr. Trump told CNN’s Jake Tapper that on Mrs. Clinton, he contributed to everyone because he was a businessman.
“As a businessman, I did what other businessmen did, and I contributed to everybody. Everybody liked me, everybody took my call, and I got what I wanted,” he said.
“As far as other elements are concerned … it’s all old stuff; it’s all old hat, and I think [that’s] been very well-vetted,” Mr. Trump said. “I mean, you look at a guy like Rand Paul, and he’s failing in the polls. He’s weak on the military. He’s pathetic on military.”
In a statement to The Washington Post, Mr. Trump said: “Recently, Rand Paul called me and asked me to play golf. I easily beat him on the golf course and will even more easily beat him now, in the world in the politics [sic]. Senator Paul does not mention that after trouncing him in golf I made a significant donation to the eye center with which he is affiliated.”
“I feel sorry for the great people of Kentucky who are being used as a back up to Senator Paul’s hopeless attempt to become president of the United States — weak on the military, Israel, the Vets and many other issues,” Mr. Trump said in the statement. “Senator Paul has no chance of wining the nomination and the people of Kentucky should not allow him the privilege of remaining their Senator. Rand should save his lobbyist’s and special interest money and just go quietly home.”
“Rand’s campaign is a total mess, and as a matter of fact, I didn’t know he had anybody left in his campaign to make commercials who are not currently under indictment!” he said.
That’s an apparent reference to Jesse Benton, the head of a super PAC supporting Mr. Paul’s candidacy who, along with two other staffers for the 2012 presidential campaign of Ron Paul, the Kentucky senator’s father, was charged in a recently-unsealed indictment accusing them of paying off an Iowa state senator to change allegiances during the last presidential election cycle. Mr. Benton’s lawyer called it a “politically motivated prosecution designed to serve a political agenda, not to achieve justice.”
Paul campaign strategist Doug Stafford responded to The Post by saying that “Donald Trump couldn’t set the intellectual conservative agenda of anything, not even the tiniest rooms, never mind a country. He is devoid of ideas other than he likes the idea of power and getting attention for foolish statements and bluster.”
“While he appreciates Donald’s golf skills, I will note that [the game] was on his home course that he plays often,” Mr. Stafford said. “And he does sincerely appreciate Donald’s generosity to the eye clinic. In fact he has mentioned it often, including in his op-ed and speeches this weekend.”
“The fact is, Rand is running to fight the big business, big government establishment,” he said. “Donald Trump already represents one end of that problem. Now he wants to represent the other. It won’t work.”