The 2016 presidential campaign has seen numerous scathing insults traded between Republican candidates. But that was before the field narrowed and, now, some candidates who have since suspended their presidential bids are full-on supporters of their former rivals.
Here are some intense jabs previously exchanged on the campaign trail — before some candidates decided to play nice.
Marco Rubio: Ted Cruz employs “dirty tricks.”
Less than a week after he ended his presidential bid, Marco Rubio looks poised to endorse Ted Cruz. Speaking to supporters in Minnesota on Wednesday, Rubio told supporters that Cruz could be the best option for conservatives. This is something few would have expected some months ago, when both candidates exchanged heated insults. Just last week, for example, Rubio accused Cruz for carrying out “dirty tricks” after the Cruz campaign allegedly told its Hawaiian supporters in an email that the Florida senator was dropping out of the race before his home state primary. Cruz reportedly said that anyone voting for Rubio would be wasting their vote. But his campaign blamed local volunteers, and said that the email wasn’t sanctioned nationally.
Chris Christie says Donald Trump acts like a “13-year-old.”
When New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie endorsed Donald Trump, he said the real estate mogul is “rewriting the playbook of American politics” and is the “best choice” for president” given the remaining field of candidates. But let’s rewind: Before suspending his campaign, Christie blasted Trump and questioned his effort to lead the Republican Party. He argued that Trump was acting like a “13-year-old” instead of someone who was ready to become president. This came after Trump refused to participate in a Fox News-sponsored debate in January, amid a fallout with one of the debate’s hosts, Megan Kelly.
“What’s that tell you about what we can expect if things go sideways when you go into the Oval Office? What are you going to do? Just go upstairs to the residence and say, ‘I’m not playing’?” he asked. “You know, ‘Vladimir Putin isn’t being nice to me, I’m not going to return his phone call’? ‘The press isn’t being nice to me, I’m not going to hold any more press conferences’?”
Lindsey Graham: A Cruz or Trump presidency would put American “in trouble.”
South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham announced his support for Ted Cruz on Thursday, saying that he is “the best alternative” to stop Trump. But prior to backing Cruz, Graham had remarkably harsh words for the Texas senator.
“If you killed Ted Cruz on the floor of the Senate, and the trial was in the Senate, nobody could convict you,” Graham said at a Washington Press Club event in January of Cruz’s unpopularity with his colleagues. “His exhibited behavior in his time in the Senate that make it impossible for me to believe that he could bring this country together. I think America would be in trouble if [Trump or Cruz] got to be president of the United States. It’s like being shot or poisoned.”
When Trump equated Carson’s “pathological temper” to the illness of a child molester.
Former neurosurgeon Ben Carson, who has a soft-spoken demeanor but admitted to having a “pathological temper” when he was young, dismissed the “gratuitous attack” leveled against him when Trump likened him to a child molester. “If you’re a child molester, there is no cure. They can’t stop you,” Trump said at a Iowa rally in November. “Pathological — there is no cure. He said he was pathological.”
When asked by reporters last week why he endorsed Trump despite past criticisms, Carson said, “We buried the hatchet. That was political stuff. We move on.”