WASHINGTON—Ted Cruz is challenging Donald Trump to debate him in a long-form venue that would get past slogans and instead tackle policy and substance, taunting the businessman by saying, “He’s scared to debate me.”
Originally, Trump said that he had to skip the debate because he agreed to speak at AIPAC, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. It later became publicly known that Trump had been given the option of speaking anytime during the three-day conference, at which point the billionaire said that instead he would not square off against Cruz because, “I think we’ve had enough debates.”
That seems inconsistent with Trump’s claim on March 6 that, “I would love to take on Ted one-on-one,” which he said when there were more candidates in the race.
Ohio Governor John Kasich then announced that he would not attend the debate either, refusing to debate Cruz one-on-one. Since the other candidates had withdrawn, Fox News canceled the debate.
Cruz spokesman Ron Nehring issued a statement saying:
Perhaps Mr. Trump is unable to speak for more than one minute about any given topic because of his shallow understanding of basic policies, or perhaps he is scared of voters learning the truth—that he has spent his entire adult life promoting liberal positions completely opposite of the conservative platform that he has campaigned on.
In what some regard as calling Trump’s bluff, Cruz instead decided to attend AIPAC at the same time as Trump, to give his own speech. Since they’ll be in the same place at the same time, Cruz has renewed his challenge for Trump to debate him, this time in Washington, D.C., adding on The Kelly File that he would be happy to make the debate about foreign policy, or some other topic that fits AIPAC’s theme of focusing on Israel.
“If you won’t debate in Utah, we’ll bring the debate to you,” Cruz said in his statement.
Cruz’s campaign has starting pushing the twitter hashtag #DuckingDonald, explaining in the statement that, “Donald can’t duck us for the rest of this campaign, and so we will happily press the issue until the public pressure becomes too much for him to bear.”
The Texas senator continues to call on Trump to allow the New York Times to release the audio tape of their conversation, which it is rumored contains the businessman’s assurances to the newspaper’s liberal editors that his rhetoric on immigration, and perhaps other issues, is merely for public consumption to win the GOP nomination, but that he has no intention of pressing these matters if elected to the White House.
The statement for Cruz concludes, “Anytime, anyplace … let’s do it, Donald.”
Ken Klukowski is legal editor for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter @kenklukowski.