Earlier in the presidential race, Ted Cruz and Donald Trump both said they liked each other. At one point, the two Republicans joined together for a rally outside the Capitol to protest the Iranian nuclear deal.
The Texas senator religiously avoided attacking the New York businessman. Trump declined to go after Cruz like he did with the others.
Some even wondered: Could this be evidence of a potential Trump-Cruz ticket down the road?
But there were signs — as Cruz’s poll numbers improved — that the so-called bromance wouldn’t last. Over the last week, we finally saw it end.
The war of words escalated over the weekend. Cruz suggested Trump is not “stable.” Trump said of Cruz: “He’s a nasty guy. Nobody likes him.”
With just two weeks until Iowa’s caucuses, here’s a timeline of Trump and Cruz’s deteriorating relationship — showing how the two presidential candidates went from allies to enemies in just a few months.
March 23: Ted Cruz enters presidential race.
June 16: Donald Trump enters presidential race.
July 5: Cruz says of the New York businessman: “I like Donald Trump. He’s bold; he’s brash. And I get that it seems the favorite sport of the American media is to encourage some Republicans to attack other Republicans. I ain’t gonna do it. I’m not interested in Republican-on-Republican violence.”
July 31: Trump takes big lead in Iowa poll with 30.9 percent in a Gravis Marketing poll. Cruz is down in sixth place with 5.5 percent.
Sept. 9: Trump says of the Texas senator: “I like him. He likes me. He’s backed me 100 percent. Ted Cruz was out there and he really backed me very strongly, and I always respected that.”
Dec. 10: While Trump has been leading in most polls since he entered the race, Cruz takes the lead for the first time in a poll in Iowa.
Dec. 10: Signs of trouble emerge as The New York Times reports Cruz questioned whether Trump has the right “judgment” to be president during a private fundraiser with donors.
Looks like @tedcruz is getting ready to attack. I am leading by so much he must. I hope so, he will fall like all others. Will be easy!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 11, 2015
Dec. 13: Trump retaliates on Fox News Sunday by taking a swipe at Cruz. “Look, I don’t think he’s qualified to be president. … I don’t think he has the right temperament. I don’t think he’s got the right judgment. … When you look at the way he’s dealt with the Senate, where he goes in there like a — you know, frankly, like a bit of a maniac.”
Dec. 13: Cruz argues his comments about Trump were mischaracterized and tries to make peace. “The Establishment’s only hope: Trump & me in a cage match. Sorry to disappoint — @realDonaldTrump is terrific.”
— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) December 11, 2015
Jan. 5: Everything changes after Trump expresses concern during an interview with The Washington Post that Cruz’s Canadian birth is problematic. “Republicans are going to have to ask themselves the question: ‘Do we want a candidate who could be tied up in court for two years?’ That’d be a big problem. It’d be a very precarious one for Republicans because he’d be running and the courts may take a long time to make a decision. You don’t want to be running and have that kind of thing over your head.”
Jan 12: After Trump raises the eligibility issues, Cruz swings at his rival while appearing on The Howie Carr show: “I think he may shift in his new rallies to play ‘New York, New York’ because Donald comes from New York and he embodies New York values.”
Jan. 14: Cruz, during the Fox Business debate, reacts to Trump’s comments on his eligibility. “I recognize that Donald is dismayed that his poll numbers are falling in Iowa. But the facts and the law here are really quite clear. Under longstanding U.S. law, the child of a U.S. citizen born abroad is a natural-born citizen.”
Jan. 14: Trump, during that debate in Charleston, shoots back: “Ted, in the last three polls, I’m beating you. So — you know, you shouldn’t misrepresent how well you’re doing with the polls. You don’t have to say that. In fact, I was all for you until you started doing that, because that’s a misrepresentation.”
Jan. 14: Cruz elaborates on his criticism of Trump’s “New York values.” “I guess I can — can frame it another way: Not a lot of conservatives come out of Manhattan. I’m just saying.”
Jan. 14: Trump responds to Cruz’s “New York values” criticism with disgust. “When the World Trade Center came down, I saw something that no place on Earth could have handled more beautifully, more humanely than New York. … And we rebuilt downtown Manhattan, and everybody in the world watched and everybody in the world loved New York and loved New Yorkers. And I have to tell you, that was a very insulting statement that Ted made.”
Jan. 16: The Cruz campaign sends a press release to reporters with video from a 1999 Tim Russert interview where “Donald Trump asserts that New York ‘views’ and ‘attitudes’ are different than other places in the country, such as Iowa.”
Jan. 16: Trump fires off 15 different tweets attacking his rival. Posting a photo of the aftermath of 9-11, Trump writes: “Is this the New York that Ted Cruz is talking about & demeaning?” He also writes: “If Ted Cruz is so opposed to gay marriage, why did he accept money from people who espouse gay marriage?”
Is this the New York that Ted Cruz is talking about & demeaning? pic.twitter.com/rYGX9vazku
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 16, 2016
If Ted Cruz is so opposed to gay marriage, why did he accept money from people who espouse gay marriage?
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 16, 2016
Jan. 16: Cruz, speaking to reporters, dismisses Trump’s tweets: “I think in terms of a commander-in-chief, we ought to have someone who isn’t springing out of bed to tweet in a frantic response to the latest polls. I think the American people are looking for a commander in chief who is stable and steady and a calm hand to keep this country safe.”
Jan. 17: Trump, on ABC’s This Week, gets personal when he attacks Cruz: “Look, the truth is, he’s a nasty guy. Nobody likes him. Nobody in Congress likes him. Nobody likes him anywhere once they get to know him.”
Jan. 17: The Cruz campaign sent a press release about Trump’s past with Hillary Clinton. “Today on Meet the Press, host Chuck Todd led a discussion about Donald Trump’s close relationship with Hillary Clinton and played a video clip of Trump explaining that he ‘know[s] her very well’ and that she ‘is a terrific woman.’ As the Democratic debate begins, Republicans have to wonder which team Donald Trump would play for.”
Jan. 18: Trump resumes tweet storm directed at Cruz, attacking his rival for fundraising from donors and for supporting the confirmation of Chief Justice John Roberts:
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 18, 2016
I am self-funding my campaign – putting up my own money, not controlled. Cruz is spending $millions on ads paid for by his N.Y. bosses.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 17, 2016
Jan. 18: Trump and Cruz continue to battle it out in Iowa. According to the Real Clear Politics polling average, Trump leads Cruz 27.8 percent to 26.7 percent.