After a day of criticizing Cruz, Trump took to Twitter Wednesday morning to accuse Cruz of “illegally stealing” Iowa.
Within a minute, Trump had deleted the tweet. Seven minutes later, he retweeted it, removing the word “illegally” and fixing a typo.
Ted Cruz didn't win Iowa, he stole it. That is why all of the polls were so wrong and why he got far more votes than anticipated. Bad!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 3, 2016
Trump then called for a new vote or to have Cruz’s win “nullified.”
Based on the fraud committed by Senator Ted Cruz during the Iowa Caucus, either a new election should take place or Cruz results nullified.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 3, 2016
Trump argued that Cruz had cheated by releasing a misleading statement about neurosurgeon Dr. Ben Carson quitting the race, potentially driving voters to Cruz’s corner.
During primetime of the Iowa Caucus, Cruz put out a release that @RealBenCarson was quitting the race, and to caucus (or vote) for Cruz.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 3, 2016
Carson criticized Cruz for the release yesterday, demanding the firing of the campaign staffer responsible. Cruz issued an apology, saying his campaign saw a CNN report claiming that Carson was dropping out. CNN denies airing any such report.
“Last night when our political team saw the CNN post saying that Dr. Carson was not carrying on to New Hampshire and South Carolina, our campaign updated grassroots leaders just as we would with any breaking news story,” Cruz told CNN. “That’s fair game. What the team then should have done was send around the follow-up statement from the Carson campaign clarifying that he was indeed staying in the race when that came out.”
On the night of the Iowa caucuses, CNN’s Chris Moody broke the news that Carson was flying home to Florida. Campaign staffers said it was not a suspension of his campaign, but rather that Carson was simply going home to “get a fresh set of clothes.”
After that news broke, Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa), the Cruz campaign’s national co-chair, tweeted that Carson “looks like he is out” and urged his supporters to instead back Cruz.
Carson looks like he is out. Iowans need to know before they vote. Most will go to Cruz, I hope. https://t.co/lW5Js50EMA— Steve King (@SteveKingIA) February 2, 2016
CNN reports that Cruz Iowa staffer Spence Rogers sent an email to Cruz staffers on the ground telling them to start talking to Carson voters.
“Breaking News. The press is reporting that Dr. Ben Carson is taking time off from the campaign trail after Iowa and making a big announcement next week,” Rogers wrote. “Please inform any Carson caucus goers of this news and urge them to caucus for Ted Cruz.”
Many people voted for Cruz over Carson because of this Cruz fraud. Also, Cruz sent out a VOTER VIOLATION certificate to thousands of voters.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 3, 2016
The Voter Violation certificate gave poor marks to the unsuspecting voter(grade of F) and told them to clear it up by voting for Cruz. Fraud— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 3, 2016
Carson is still in the race today. Cruz won the Iowa caucuses with 27.6 percent of the vote to Trump’s 24.3 percent.
“Anybody who’s been on the road for almost three weeks recognizes exactly what I’m talking about. You need some fresh clothes. It’s not like you’re going to be there forever,” Carson told CNN. “It’s very nice to sleep in your own bed every now and then. And if anybody can’t understand that I feel sorry for them.”
The New Hampshire primaries take place on Tuesday, Feb. 9.
Update 9:16am CT, Feb. 3: Added Trump’s tweet calling for a new vote in Iowa.
Photo via Michael Vadon/Flickr (CC BY 2.0) | Remix by Max Fleishman