It started with a new web video and escalated from there.
Kentucky Senator Rand Paul released a video using frontrunner Donald Trump’s own words against his. “I identify more as a Democrat,” Trump told CNN in 2004.
“It just seem like the economy does better under the Democrats than the Republicans,” Trump continued.
The video continued with more Trump quotes, including praise for Hillary Clinton, then transitions to Senator Paul touting his vision for America.
The Paul campaign says the video, or at least some version of it since it’s 2 minutes long, will be running in Iowa and New Hampshire.
Trump wasted no time in responding, and did so with typical Trump flare.
“Rand Paul is doing so poorly in the polls he has to revert to old footage of me discussing positions I no longer hold,” Trump’s statement to the Washington Post read.
After touting his business successes, Trump said he had to maintain relationships with politicians from both parties in the interest of his business.
“Unless you are a piece of unyielding granite,” Trump continued, “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 talked of golfing with Paul, and “trouncing him” and donating to an eye center where Paul, and ophthalmologist, practices, “The Donald” added:
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!
That was a reference to Jesse Benton, head of America’s Liberty PAC, a Paul family loyalist who was recently indicted for campaign finance violations related to Ron Paul’s 2012 presidential run.
The Paul campaign responded angrily in a rebuttal statement.
After reminding readers Ronald Reagan “spent 20 years as a conservative before running for President, not twenty minutes,” Paul strategist Doug Stafford made it personal. “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.”
After touting Paul’s record and agenda, the statement took a decidedly more conciliatory tone. “While he appreciates Donald’s golf skills, I will note that [the game] was on his home course that he plays often,” Stafford said. “And he does sincerely appreciate Donald’s generosity to the eye clinic. In fact he has mentioned it often, including in his op-ed and speeches this weekend.”
The spat appears to have ended, or at least taken a hiatus. The two men, along with the rest of the GOP field, will next appear on a stage together at the next GOP debate on September 16.