Former presidents are controversial by nature so it's not such a rare thing to hear one of their names followed a chorus of boos. But when the former president in question is also a 91-year-old Nobel Peace Prize winner, the jeering seems a little mean-spirited. In a speech celebrating his minor Super Tuesday wins, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz took a jab at Jimmy Carter while attacking his Republican presidential rival Donald Trump and his supporters were quick to boo the former Democratic president.
In the wake of Trump's Super Tuesday sweep, Cruz attempted to paint himself as the only Republican candidate able to take down the real estate mogul, telling an enthusiastic crowd in Houston, Texas, he had "the only campaign that has beaten Donald Trump once, twice, three times." Plagued by an overcrowded GOP ticket that has weakened the establishment's war against Trump, the Texas senator and Marco Rubio have continued to butt heads over who should drop out to give the other a real shot at gathering the voters needed to take on Trump. Cruz sought to woo voters frustrated with Washington by painting Trump as a potential puppet president easily manipulated by Democrats.
Donald Trump has been part of the Washington corruption for 40 years. He's Harry Reid's favorite Republican candidate, and Jimmy Carter's.
Cue the booing.
But Cruz isn't picking on Carter, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2002 for his work in advancing human rights through The Carter Center, arbitrarily, nor is this the first time he's used Carter to attack Trump. Cruz's Carter jab only makes sense if you're familiar with an interview America's 39th president gave at Britain's House of Lords in early February. When asked who he'd pick as the Republican nominee, Carter picked Trump over Cruz.
I think I would choose Trump, which may surprise some of you. The reason is, Trump has proven already he’s completely malleable. I don’t think he has any fixed [positions] he'd go the White House and fight for. On the other hand, Ted Cruz is not malleable. He has far-right wing policies in my opinion that he’d pursue if he became president.
Like any good presidential candidate, Cruz wasted no time in using Carter's words against Trump. He released a campaign ad centered around Carter's claim Trump was malleable the day after Carter spoke to Britain's House of Lords.
In politics, aggressive and personal attacks on your competition are often the norm. But is it fair to drag the name of a third party through the mud just to drive your point home?