- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Donald Trump said Ted Cruz “stole” his win in the Iowa caucus after the Texas senator’s staff spread rumors that Ben Carson was dropping out of the race with the hopes of garnering the retired neurosurgeon’s votes — and as a result, Mr. Cruz’s votes should be “nullified”

“Based on the fraud committed by Senator Ted Cruz during the Iowa Caucus, either a new election should take place or Cruz results nullified,” Mr. Trump tweeted on Wednesday.

“During primetime of the Iowa Caucus, Cruz put out a release that @RealBenCarson was quitting the race, and to caucus or vote for Cruz,” Mr. Trump tweeted on Wednesday.

“Ted Cruz didn’t win Iowa, he stole it. That is why all of the polls were wrong and why he got far more votes than anticipated. Bad!” Mr. Trump wrote.

The tweets from the real-estate mogul were a pivot from earlier in the morning, when Mr. Trump explained on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” that his lackluster ground game and his decision to skip the Republican debate leading up to the caucus may have been the reasons for his disappointing second-place finish.

“I think we could have used a better ground game, a term I wasn’t even familiar with,” Mr. Trump said on the program. “You know, when you hear ground game, you say what the hell is that? Now I’m familiar with it.”

“I think in retrospect, we should have had a better ground game. I would have funded a better ground game, but, you know, people told me our ground game was fine,” he said. “And I think by most standards, it was.”

Mr. Trump added he may have been “hurt a little” by not attending the debate, but he was happy he raised $6 million for the veterans in the rally he held at the same time.

Mr. Cruz released a statement on Tuesday apologizing to Mr. Carson after his team took a CNN story about Mr. Carson heading to Florida after the Iowa caucuses as news he was suspending his campaign.

“This was a mistake from our end, and for that I apologize to Dr. Carson,” Mr. Cruz’s statement read. “What the team then should have done was send around the follow-up statement from the Carson campaign clarifying that he was indeed staying in the race when that came out.”

Mr. Carson complained the move was a “dirty trick,” and Mr. Trump seems to have jumped on that bandwagon.

“Many people voted for Cruz over Carson because of this Cruz fraud,” Mr. Trump tweeted on Wednesday.

Mr. Cruz’s team dismissed Mr. Trump’s Twitter tantrum.

“Reality hit the reality TV star in Iowa, so nobody is talking about him now, so he’s trying to regain some attention on Twitter,” Rick Tyler, Mr. Cruz’s communication director, told CNN. “There are Twitter addiction support groups, so he should seek out his local chapter.”

Mr. Cruz broke his silence on the issue Wednesday afternoon, tweeting: “Yet another #Trumpertantrum. @realDonaldTrump very angry w/ the people of Iowa. They actually looked at his record.”

• Editor’s note: Political reporter Kelly Riddell’s husband, Frank Sadler, was the campaign manager for Republican presidential contender Carly Fiorina.

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