Trump, Cruz Escalate Attacks as Indiana Vote Nears

From left: Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Donald Trump
From left: Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Donald Trump

Donald Trump and Ted Cruz are in the midst of making their final pitches to the people of Indiana before next Tuesday’s primary, spending millions of dollars on television advertising throughout the state. Trump has largely focused on trade deals and outsourcing, attacking local manufacturer Carrier Corp for its plans to move 2,100 jobs to Mexico. Cruz, meanwhile, has largely focused on Trump’s recent statements against North Carolina’s bathroom bill, and has repeatedly compared Trump’s policies to those of Hillary Clinton.

A recent ad from the Trump campaign features Donald Trump Jr. praising his father’s tough persona, stating, “It’s that toughness that I want renegotiating trade deals with China and Mexico. It’s that toughness that I want keeping me, and my family, and your family safe.” Another Trump ad attacks Cruz on both trade and immigration, claiming, “Bad trade deals supported by Ted Cruz have hurt Indiana” and that only Trump “will stand up to China, Japan, and Mexico” to renegotiate those deals. Governor Mike Pence, who endorsed Ted Cruz earlier today, nevertheless said that he was “particularly grateful that Donald Trump has taken a strong stand for Hoosier jobs.”

The Cruz campaign, however, has been busy drawing parallels between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton on issues such as gun control, abortion, and, particularly, transgender bathroom access. Cruz has been highlighting this issue in rallies throughout the week, saying, “Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton both agree that grown men should be allowed to use the little girls’ restroom” and that “[i]f Donald Trump dresses as Hillary Clinton, he still can’t use the little girls’ restroom.” A new advertisement featuring Carly Fiorina further characterizes Trump and Clinton as two insiders unwilling to stand up to the establishment, saying, “Neither Hillary Clinton nor Donald Trump will fight the system, because they are the system.”

Danny Cannon works for the American Principles Project.