- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 17, 2016

Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas says GOP presidential front-runner Donald Trump is scared to debate and that Mr. Trump looks down on voters, counting on them to believe whatever he tells them.

Mr. Trump, citing a prior commitment to speak at a policy conference hosted by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), said Wednesday he would not be attending the GOP presidential debate that had been scheduled for March 21 but was ultimately cancelled.

“His excuse is silliness, and it reflects his assumption that he thinks the voters can’t figure out that he’s not telling [them] the truth,” Mr. Cruz said on Wednesday evening’s “The Kelly File” on Fox News.

Mr. Cruz pointed out that the conference hosted by AIPAC is a multi-day event — it runs from Sunday to Tuesday — and Mr. Trump’s schedule would likely have been accommodated.

“He chose to speak right in the middle of the debate [because] he’s scared to debate,” Mr. Cruz said.

“And, you know, he just, he looks down on the voters,” Mr. Cruz said. “He thinks they’re gullible and will believe whatever he’s saying. So I’m going to be in D.C. for AIPAC as well since Donald is running away from the debate. I’m happy to debate him there. If he wants, we can debate foreign policy, but the problem is, Donald doesn’t do very well in foreign policy [because] he doesn’t have even a basic modicum of knowledge.”

Mr. Cruz said he’s happy to debate Mr. Trump in Utah, where the Fox News debate was to be held, or Washington, D.C., or anywhere else.

“But I suspect Donald will continue running and hiding and basking in the protection from the network media that is trying to do everything they can to make him the nominee, because they know he’s the one candidate on the face of the planet that Hillary Clinton can beat in the general election,” Mr. Cruz said.

Mr. Trump’s campaign responded by saying polls and voters have shown Mr. Trump won all the debates.

“According to all the online polls, and the voters for that matter, Mr. Trump has won all the debates. Mr. Trump looks forward to speaking at AIPAC on Monday,” said a statement from the campaign.

Mr. Trump had also fired off a few tweets Thursday morning in response.

“Crazy @megynkelly supposedly had lyin’ Ted Cruz on her show last night. Ted is desperate and his lying is getting worse. Ted can’t win!” Mr. Trump tweeted.

“Great news that @FoxNews has cancelled the additional debate. How many times can the same people ask the same question? I beat Cruz debating,” he also tweeted.

Fox News’s Michael Clemente, executive vice president of news at the cable network, had said Wednesday that Ohio Gov. John Kasich’s campaign indicated after Mr. Trump’s announcement that Mr. Kasich would not participate without Mr. Trump there.

Ted Cruz has expressed a willingness to debate Trump or Kasich — or both. But obviously, there needs to be more than one participant. So the Salt Lake City debate is cancelled,” Mr. Clemente said.

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