POLITICS

'Maniac' is no longer the worst thing Donald Trump has called Ted Cruz

Sept. 9, 2015: GOP presidential candidates Donald Trump, cntr., and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz at Capitol Hill rally on Iran nuclear deal, Washington, D.C.

Sept. 9, 2015: GOP presidential candidates Donald Trump, cntr., and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz at Capitol Hill rally on Iran nuclear deal, Washington, D.C.  (AP)

And to think that they once were buddies or, at least, allies.

How things change when the stakes are high.

Donald Trump, who went from avoiding taking shots at Ted Cruz to suggesting he was a maniac and perhaps not really an American who legally qualifies to be U.S. president, hurled a new insult at the Texas firebrand that made the jaws of even seasoned Trump-watchers drop.

Riffing off a supporter who called Cruz a wimp, but with a slang that refers to a woman’s body part, Trump dared her to repeat it for everyone at the rally in New Hampshire to hear.

“She just said a terrible thing,” Trump said at the Monday night rally, according to the New York Daily News. “Shout it out, because I don’t want to ... I never expect to hear that from you again!”

The real estate mogul, who has taken issue with the official results of the Iowa caucus establishing Cruz as the top vote-getter – Trump came in second, though he questions that – had been telling the crowd that the senator has a cowardly position on waterboarding because he said he would limit its use if he became president.

After teasing the woman who yelled out the vulgar term, Trump repeated it for the crowd himself, saying “She called him a [slur].”

“That’s terrible. Terrible,” he said, feigning disapproval, then laughing.

Trump, who has said he would like to win New Hampshire, but adds that he doesn’t need to, vows to bring back waterboarding if he becomes president.

At a town hall in New Hampshire on Monday, Trump said: “When we are dealing with these animals, we can’t be soft and weak like our politicians.”

“I can guarantee you this—those guys who are chopping off heads of Christians in the Middle East, and many others—when they hear we are arguing that waterboarding may be too severe and it’s not nice, they are laughing like hell to themselves and they just go further,” Trump said, according to The Hill.

Cruz said at a GOP debate that he would not "bring it back in any sort of widespread use.”

“I think bad things happen when enhanced interrogation is employed at lower levels,” Cruz said.

He noted that he had supported legislation limiting the use of waterboarding.

Cruz added, however, that keeping the United States safe would be his priority.

“When it comes to keeping this country safe, the commander in chief has inherent constitutional authority to keep this country safe," Cruz said. "And so if it were necessary to prevent a city from, say, facing an imminent terrorist attack, you can rest assured that as commander in chief, I would use whatever enhanced interrogation methods we could to keep this country safe.”

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