Sen. Rand Paul released an attack ad Wednesday calling into question fellow Republican candidate Donald Trump’s conservative credentials, prompting Trump to issue a lengthy response going after not only Paul the politician, but his ability, or lack thereof, to play a certain sport.
Paul’s ad, which his campaign says will play in New Hampshire and Iowa through the weekend, puts together clips of some of Trump’s past political statements, including some from a 2004 interview in which he said, “In many cases, I probably identify more as Democrat.” He also contends, “It just seems the economy does better under the Democrats than Republicans.”
The ad goes on to show footage of Trump saying he is a “liberal” regarding healthcare and supports universal healthcare, which came up during last Thursday’s Republican debate. Trump has said he no longer supports it.
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In Paul’s ad, Trump also has very nice things to say about Bill and Hillary Clinton. He says he likes them both “a lot” and thinks Hillary is doing a “great job.” It is not clear if he is referring to her time as senator from New York or secretary of state.
Rand Paul is doing so poorly in the polls he has to revert to old footage of me discussing positions I no longer hold. As a world-class businessman, who built one of the great companies with some of the most iconic real estate assets in the world, it was my obligation to my family, my company, my employees and myself to maintain a strong relationship with all politicians whether Republican or Democrat. I did that and I did that well.
Unless you are a piece of unyielding granite, over the years positions evolve, as they have in my case. Ronald Reagan, as an example, was a Democrat with a liberal bent who became a conservative Republican.
Trump then moves his attack to a different field of competition altogether:
Recently, Rand Paul called me and asked me to play golf. I easily beat him on the golf course and will even more easily beat him now, in the world in the politics.
Senator Paul does not mention that, after trouncing him in golf, I made a significant donation to the eye center with which he is affiliated.
The billionaire candidate’s closing hits Paul close to home: “Rand should save his lobbyists’ and special interest money and just go quietly home. Rand’s campaign is a total mess, and, as a matter of fact, I didn’t know he had anybody left in his campaign to make commercials who are not currently under indictment!”
The indictment claim is in reference to charges brought last week against long-time Paul ally and family member Jessie Benton, married to Paul’s niece, and John Tate, who both work with the SuperPAC supporting Rand Paul. The two have been accused of breaking campaign finance laws during Ron Paul’s 2012 presidential run.
Rand Paul’s campaign strategist, Doug Stafford, responded to Trump’s response by stating, in part:
First, Ronald Reagan spent 20 years as a conservative before running for President, not twenty minutes. He changed out of conviction. He campaigned for Goldwater in 1964 giving one of the great conservative speeches of all time, setting the intellectual agenda for a generation of conservatives.
Donald Trump couldn’t set the intellectual conservative agenda of anything, not even the tiniest rooms, never mind a country. He is devoid of ideas other than he likes the idea of power and getting attention for foolish statements and bluster…
While he appreciates Donald’s golf skills, I will note that [the game] was on his home course that he plays often…
Sparks flew between the two candidates during last Thursday’s first presidential debate when Paul, as in his ad, accused Trump of lacking party loyalty.
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The next GOP presidential primary debate is slated to take place Sept. 16 at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, Calif.