Ted Cruz's belittling of Donald Trump is reaching new levels.
On Tuesday morning, the Texas senator unleashed a barrage of jabs at the Republican presidential frontrunner, perhaps the sharpest escalation of Cruz's rhetoric against Trump in months. In an interview with Dallas radio host Glenn Beck, a supporter, Cruz disparaged Trump as an incompetent manager and wannabe mobster.
Asked about the potential for violence at the Republican National Convention — something Trump and his supporters have raised the possibility of — Cruz said Trump "now has a consistent pattern of inciting violence, of Donald and his henchmen pushing for violence."
"Donald needs to understand he's not Michael Corleone," Cruz said, referring to the protagonist of the "Godfather" movies. "I understand Donald has had some very shady business deals with people that are currently in prison — mobsters — but the presidency should not be La Cosa Nostra."
"Donald needs to stop threatening the voters," Cruz added. "He needs to stop threatening the delegates. He is not a mobster."
In Tuesday's interview with Beck, Cruz also repeatedly targeted the Trump campaign's failure to do well in nominating contests that require a reliable level of organization. Cruz specifically cited a recent case in which the Trump team botched outreach to the Washington state GOP, mistakenly emailing supporters in Washington, D.C. — and two days after a critical deadline in Washington state.
"Donald's whole pitch is he's a great businessman, and yet his campaign right now, it appears he can't run a lemonade stand," Cruz said, suggesting that Trump's campaign is so incompetent if he were a contestant on the reality TV show he once helmed, "The Apprentice," he would have to fire himself.
Despite the Trump campaign's missteps, the billionaire maintains a wide lead over Cruz in the delegate race, an advantage he is expected to build on a week from now when his home state of New York awards 95 delegates. In recent days, Trump has taken to accusing Cruz of cheating him out of support in Colorado, whose 34 delegates Cruz finished sweeping Saturday.
In the interview, Cruz continued to beat back on Trump's criticism of the process in Colorado, calling him a "sore loser" who's all too familiar with getting his way. Painting Trump as spoiled since birth, Cruz said the billionaire "has been surrounded by sycophants his entire business career," a trend now evident in his political foray.
"Look at the humiliation he inflicts on people like Chris Christie," Cruz said, referring to the New Jersey governor who endorsed Trump and has appeared subservient to him on occasion. "Chris Christie right now is trapped in his own private hell."
The radio interview came during the rare weekday in which Cruz does not have any public events planned. He is set to return to the campaign trail Wednesday with an afternoon rally in Pennsylvania.