Cruz-signsIt didn’t take long for Texas Senator Ted Cruz to take on Donald Trump at a Cruz event in Ottumwa tonight. Cruz jumped to the defense of well-known Iowa conservative Bob Vander Plaats, who has endorsed Cruz.

“Somebody must have stolen Mr. Trump’s Twitter account because I’ve got to say that can’t possibly be Donald Trump because no one in their right mind would tweet the nasty things that are being said about Bob,” Cruz said.

Trump sent a series of tweets, accusing Vander Plaats of being a “phony” and of trying to stay for free at Trump hotels. Vander Plaats tweeted back, saying he still considers Trump a friend — but Trump still can’t have his endorsement. Cruz suggests Trump’s Tweets are a hint to Trump’s true character.

“When you start vilifying and demonizing and attacking strong conservative leaders because they choose not to support you, that starts to communicate an awful lot to the men and women who are watching,” Cruz said.

Cruz also called Trump, “My friend,” but added this: “If he wants to engage in insults, if he wants to engage in attacks, my advice to Donald is stick with me.”

Cruz addressed a crowd of about 400 at Ottumwa’s Bridge View Center. He got strong positive responses for his promise to repeal “every word of ObamaCare” and to defeat “radical Islamic terrorism.”

(Reporting by Nick Davis, KBIZ, Ottumwa)