It was like a Tweetstorm, except it was real life.
At least, I think it was real life. It’s hard to tell at this point.
At 2 p.m. on Monday afternoon—Presidents Day, fittingly—Donald Trump held a press conference in Hanahan, South Carolina. The event served as a roast of sorts for every person and institution Trump loathes, but he focused in particular on searing and threatening to sue Cruz—his closest rival in the state (20 points behind him) where the Republican primary will be held on Saturday.
Trump stood in front of venetian blinds, which were closed. He wore a blue suit and a red, striped tie. He gripped the lectern, stamped with his campaign logo, in his usual manner. His hair was more of a white gold or platinum shade, rather than the typical yellow gold. His tan was pretty nice, actually.
“Ted Cruz is desperate. I think Ted’s a very unstable guy…He’s a lying guy, a really lying guy,” Trump said. “I have never, ever met a person that lies more than Ted Cruz! I have never ever seen anything like it! He did it with Ben Carson, he did it with the voter violation fraud deal that he did.”
He went on this way for 43 minutes.
“I’ve never seen anybody that lied as much as Ted Cruz!” He said. “And he goes around saying that he’s a Christian? I dunno. You’re gonna have to really study that.”
As he spoke, Trump’s campaign sent out a press release reiterating the point.
“Ted Cruz is a totally unstable individual. He is the single biggest liar I’ve ever come across, in politics or otherwise, and I have seen some of the best of them,” it began.
Trump is upset because, after months of declining to attack him, Cruz has changed course as it’s become clear that Trump’s popularity is not a passing fad.
On Feb. 10, the Cruz campaign released a fundraising email that was literally just a list of all the things conservatives should hate about Trump: “Support for Hillary-style healthcare; Support for partial birth abortion; Support for bank bailout; Support for Obama stimulus; and Enthusiastic embrace of eminent domain.”
And on Monday morning, in South Carolina, Cruz went even further. He said that Trump’s belief that George W. Bush should have been impeached over the Iraq war “was not a reasonable position. That was an extreme and radical position.” He said Trump had taken the side of MoveOn.org and Michael Moore, the far-left liberal filmmaker.
But what really seemed to push Trump over the edge was what Cruz had to say about his sister, Maryanne Barry, a prominent judge who Cruz claimed “was a Bill Clinton-appointed federal appellate judge who is a radical pro-abortion extremist…and Donald said his extreme, abortion-supporting sister would make a terrific Supreme Court Justice.”
In his statement, Trump said, “Cruz has become unhinged and is lying with the hopes that his statements will go unchecked until after the election and he save his failing campaign.”
Trump said he could potentially “fight back” by bringing “a lawsuit against him relative to the fact that he was born in Canada and therefore cannot be president. If he doesn’t take down his false ads and retract his lies, I will do so immediately.”
During the press conference, Trump alleged that “top lawyers” had told him recently, “he doesn’t even have the right to serve as president or run as president because he was born in Canada.” It would take a few days, he said, for the “papers” to be “drawn up.”
Trump briefly wandered into other topics during the event. To claim Bush kept us safe with the exception of the Sept. 11 terror attacks, he said, was nonsensical. Rubio, he said, is “a choke artist, and we can’t have that as a president.” Personally, he said, “I’m a unifier.”
“We’re gonna become rich again and we’re gonna become great again,” Trump said, playing off of his campaign slogan.