Cruz to Trump: Let’s settle this one-on-one

January 28, 2016

Republican U.S. presidential candidate businessman Donald Trump (L) and Senator Ted Cruz speak simultaneously at the Fox Business Network Republican presidential candidates debate in North Charleston, South Carolina, January 14, 2016. REUTERS/Randall Hill

The battle between Ted Cruz and Donald Trump blazed on as Cruz proposed a one-on-one debate showdown for the two candidates.

The senator from Texas and the bullish billionaire spent the earlier part of the election cycle engaging with a cordiality rarely seen in the bare-knuckle arena of national politics, but now all friendly gestures have been set aside as the two leading contenders for the Republican party’s nomination engage in an increasingly bitter battle in the days ahead of the Iowa caucuses.

Following Trump’s announcement that he would not participate in Thursday night’s Fox News debate, Cruz began goading the front-runner to meet him for a two-man debate, calling it an opportunity for the people of Iowa to hear “jointly and directly from the two leading Republican candidates,” ahead of the state’s Feb. 1 caucus.

“This venue is already reserved and I would propose that our campaigns evenly divide available seating/ticketing. Our teams can jointly work on the logistical details,” Cruz wrote in an open letter to Trump sent out late Wednesday evening.

Cruz’s Super PACs— Keep the Promise I and II— also joined in, prodding Trump with a pledge to donate $1.5 million to charities for veterans should Trump choose to accept a debate invitation.

On Wednesday, Trump took to Twitter to beat in on Cruz’s proposal for a debate, stopping short of agreeing to the showdown but not passing on the chance to taunt Cruz’s Canadian birth.

“Even though I beat him in the first six debates, especially the last one, Ted Cruz wants to debate me again. Can we do it in Canada?,” Trump wrote to his nearly 5.9 million Twitter followers.

By Thursday, Trump had not yet responded to the Super PACs’ proposal for the veterans.

In lieu of attending the Thursday night debate in Iowa, Trump’s campaign announced a “special event” to benefit veteran organizations to be held at competing times with the program.

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