Ahead of the pivotal Indiana primary on Tuesday, the attacks between Republican candidates Donald Trump and Ted Cruz have taken a vicious turn. The renewed fighting began when Donald Trump cited a National Enquirer article that linked Cruz's father to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy during a phone interview with Fox News early Tuesday morning. (Obviously, Cruz's camp vehemently denies this.) In response, Cruz held a press conference where he brutally attacked Trump's character, slinging insults at his rival in a last ditch attempt to sway the Indiana voters. Below are some of Cruz's insults from the press conference, all in reference to Trump.
- "Utterly immoral"
- "Pathological liar"
- "Braggadocios arrogant buffoon"
- Carrier of "venereal diseases"
- "Serial philanderer"
- "Legally blind"
Cruz made reference to the ongoing fight between the two candidates, which dragged both men's wives into the mix when Trump posted a picture to his Twitter page Heidi Cruz to Melania Trump. "Apparently [Heidi] is not pretty enough for Donald Trump. I may be biased but I think if he's making that allegation, he's legally blind," Cruz said before the gathered crowd. He also joked about the National Enquirer article, criticizing both the article and Trump's use of it to support his campaign. "Yes, my dad killed JFK, he's secretly Elvis, and Jimmy Hoffa is buried in his backyard," Cruz said.
It's unclear if this attack will have any impact on Tuesday's primary, where Trump was solidly leading in the polls when voting began. The short-lived alliance between Cruz and John Kasich was supposed to help Cruz take the state instead of Trump, but it fell apart almost immediately, damaging both Cruz and Kasich and leaving the path to Indiana victory, and the nomination, even more open for Trump. The Donald also has several key endorsements on his side, including basketball legend Bobby Knight and former Notre Dame football coach Lou Holtz. Given Trump's decisive lead in both the Indiana polling data and the race overall, Cruz may have only hurt himself in the long run.
However, there's precedent for using insults to win support, i.e. Trump himself, who arguably reinvented the strategy in this election and handed Cruz the tools to launch this attack. It's possible that the Indiana voters could be swayed by Cruz's laissez-faire, unpolitical attitude and give him the upset he is hoping for. That would come at a cost, though — if Cruz's strategy works, the Republican race could take a very brutal turn in the remaining weeks of primary season.