Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Cruz Falls, Trump Steals The Show Before Iowa Votes


Donald Trump may yet have won Thursday night’s GOP debate despite skipping the event altogether. With Trump absent from the debate stage, the most scathing attacks were levied at Texas Senator Ted Cruz, polling 7 points behind the businessman, who suffered a weak debate performance with just days before the Iowa Caucuses playing right into Trump’s plan for the night. While Trump was across town at a hastily organized veteran’s fundraiser, the other GOP rivals took turns taking shots at Cruz with none of the other candidates having a breakout performance.

Kentucky Senator Rand Paul who has so far been irrelevant in the GOP contest had one of the sharpest attacks on Cruz of the night telling the audience “what is particularly insulting, though, is that he is the king of saying, you’re for amnesty. Everybody’s for amnesty except for Ted Cruz. But it’s a falseness, and that’s an authenticity problem.” Paul’s sentiment, echoed by Florida Senator Marco Rubio, cut to the heart of the problem other candidates’ have with Cruz. That he will say anything to get elected and that he has a penchant for painting his fellow Republicans as false conservatives.

For his part, Ted Cruz seemed unprepared for primetime. At one point, Marco Rubio accused him of trying to “out-Trump Trump,” who was bragging about how many more television cameras were at his event then the FOX News debate that he skipped in due to his continuing feud with the network. Fox responded with a statement.

In the end, Trump may indeed come out the winner of the debate. While his competitors quarreled on stage, he had a stage to himself allowing voters to see him as the non-politician outsider. Just as important, while Trump’s closest competitor, Cruz, deals with bad press following last night’s debate, Trump has managed to steal the last major news cycle before voting begins on Monday.

Referencing the Trump cloud hanging over the event, Kelly began the night alluding to “the elephant not in the room.”

Politico, TheHill