Donald Trump just accused Ted Cruz of stealing.
On Wednesday morning, the Republican presidential contender fired off a series of tweets suggesting that his competitor stole votes in the Iowa caucuses and demanding a do-over. “Ted Cruz didn’t win Iowa, he stole it,” Trump tweeted. “Based on the fraud committed by Senator Ted Cruz during the Iowa caucus, either a new election should take place or Cruz results nullified,” he declared.
The claim sounds a bit like sour grapes coming just days after Trump took second place to Cruz among the Republican field in Iowa’s first-in-the-nation nominating contest. But it’s not surprising. Trump has a track record of capturing the media spotlight with controversial statements after encountering campaign-trail setbacks. (The candidate called for the United States to ban Muslims from entering the nation after a poll showed him trailing Cruz in Iowa.) Trump is also no stranger to making accusations that things aren’t quite what they seem. The candidate has already sowed doubt over Cruz’s citizenship, claiming that the Texas senator’s Canadian birth may disqualify him from the presidency.
This time, Trump is accusing Cruz of unfairly siphoning off votes. On caucus night in Iowa on Monday, the Cruz campaign suggested that Republican candidate Ben Carson might drop out of the race, an apparent bid to persuade Carson supporters to switch their loyalty to Cruz. Carson criticized Cruz as a result, and on Tuesday, the candidate appeared to issue an apology, saying that his campaign should have circulated a statement “clarifying that he [Carson] was indeed staying in the race.” Trump is also attacking Cruz for sending out a controversial mailer to Iowa voters that essentially attempted to shame voters into caucusing. “The Voter Violation certificate gave poor marks to the unsuspecting voters (grade of F) and told them to clear it up by voting for Cruz. Fraud,” Trump tweeted. Team Cruz dismissed the allegations as a desperate bid for attention. “Since Iowa, no one is talking about Donald Trump,” said Cruz spokesperson Rick Tyler. “That’s why he’s popping off on Twitter.”