MIAMI — Donald Trump came out swinging after two Iowa polls found his numbers slipping behind Ben Carson, and on Friday he attacked the retired retired neurosurgeon on his use of super PAC money
Trump told a few thousand attendees at his Doral resort that he’s not going anywhere — and that he isn’t so sure about the veracity of those poll numbers.
“I love Iowa,” Trump said. “I honestly think those polls are wrong.” Trump then said that the two polling groups responsible for the numbers, Quinnipiac and Bloomberg, “do not like me.”
Trump has, however, previously touted these same polling institutions this election cycle, frequently citing them in speeches while discussing his lead.
In Las Vegas earlier this month, Trump called Quinnipiac a “great polling company” and “the real deal.” At another event in Waterloo, Iowa, Trump called Quinnipiac polls, along with Reuters, “big” and “respected polls.”
Trump didn’t limit his criticism to pollsters Friday.
In a departure from his previous political détente with Ben Carson, Trump unleashed on his rival, who has trailed Trump in the polls as a close second until this week.Trump pretended to be announcing the Iowa poll results on a news broadcast, and added in his best anchor voice, “We informed Ben, but he was sleeping.”
Trump had previously cautioned that the peace between the two campaigns might end. He told NBC in October that Carson has “been very nice to me, I’ve been very nice to him. I don’t know that that’s going to continue — in a certain way I hope it doesn’t, because everybody that’s attacked me is down.”
Trump also hit the retired neurosurgeon on his use of super PAC money, explaining that as Trump understands it Carson’s Iowa Super PAC and his campaign are going to merge.
“I hear in Iowa that there’s going to be a merger of Ben Carson — and I like him, he’s a nice guy — they’re going to merge their super PACs,” Trump said. “He’s got two of them and they’re going to run, and they’ve been running his campaign and he doesn’t hardly have to go there. And I’m saying, ‘What am I, why — I’m not allowed to do anything?
“It’s really unfair, but I think they shouldn’t be allowed to do that, I don’t know if they’re allowed to do that, but how do you have super PACs running campaigns?” Trump told the crowd.
Two of Carson’s super PACs did, in fact, talk about merging this week — but with each other, not the campaign.
While one super PAC backing him does send staff to events to sign up volunteers and hand out literature, those actions are unsanctioned by, and independent from, the Carson campaign.
Carson isn’t the only one Trump is hitting for using outside money. The real estate mogul urged all candidates running for president to “disavow your super PACs. Run for office and be proud but disavow your super PACs.”Carson, among others on the GOP side, has relied heavily on super PAC money and work so far the campaign.
On Thursday, Trump sent a press release to nine unauthorized super PACs that claimed to support him, disavowing them and demanding that the money they’d raised be returned to their donors. Trump again reiterated that he was self-funding his campaign and wanted to “continue to campaign with integrity, wholly independent of the dark money, donor class perpetuating a broken Washington, D.C.”
Trump also continued to speak about the Sept. 11 and George W. Bush, but this time included Bill Clinton in his critique that more should have been done to prevent the terror attacks.
“The biggest attack ever, they should have known about it and they could have known about it,” Trump said.
“And I’m not blaming George Bush, I’m not blaming anybody. I could also blame Clinton,” Trump said. “ ‘Cause in all fairness to Bush, he was only president for about nine months and Bill Clinton gave a speech talking about Osama bin Laden, so we can blame Bush, we can blame everybody.”