Moments before a press conference on Monday, GOP front-runner Donald Trump increased the heat in his feud with Ted Cruz by threatening to take Ted Cruz to court to challenge his eligibility to be president “if he doesn’t take down his false ads and retract his lies.” In the written statement, Trump said: “One of the ways I can fight back is to bring 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.”
Cruz, a senator from Texas, was born in Canada, but his mother was an American citizen. In recent weeks, he has campaigned hard against Trump over his past support for Democratic candidates and causes. Trump said Cruz is lying when he says the businessman would appoint judges who are opposed to Second Amendment gun rights. Cruz has also said that Trump supports abortion rights and government-backed health care. Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, who has endorsed Cruz, appeared on CNN immediately after Trump’s press conference, calling it a “sickening display of a schoolyard bully.” King said Trump was hurling completely unfounded allegations. “You would never want the president of the United States speaking like that from a podium.”
When asked by reporters about the timeline on the lawsuit, specifically if the suit would be filed before Saturday’s South Carolina primary, Trump said “maybe, if I can,” noting that he has to be get the papers drawn. But, he assured, it would be a quick process. Cruz, who was also campaigning in South Carolina on Monday, told a crowd he has “no intention of responding” to Trump’s latest comments and said the real-estate mogul must be “rattled.” Trump spent the bulk of his remarks hitting the Texas senator for being a “liar,” citing his campaign’s attempts to deceive Ben Carson supporters into thinking Carson was ending his campaign ahead of the Iowa caucuses and a controversial mailer that went out in the Hawkeye State suggesting residents could face a penalty for not caucusing.
Trump said Cruz is “the most dishonest politician” he’s ever met and called his rival “unstable.” He also called Cruz “very, very weak” on immigration and questioned the senator’s commitment to his stance on same-sex marriage, telling the room that Cruz will “look at his donors” to find where his allegiances actually stand. Trump said he had another reason for wanting to hold a news conference near Charleston: To address concerns that the federal government plans to move prisoners — terrorism suspects — from Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to the Charleston area. Pledging to keep the Gitmo prison open, Trump said: “We’re not going to let people come here from Guantanamo Bay.” President Obama has pledged to close the prison by the end of his term; some South Carolina lawmakers have expressed concern that some prisoners may be moved to military facilities in their state.