Bigger Than Reagan’s

Donald Trump: My Movement Is Bigger Than Reagan’s

Image: Donald Trump: My Movement Is Bigger Than Reagan's

Thursday, 14 Jan 2016 07:40 AM

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump told Bloomberg’s With All Due Respect that he’s building a movement bigger than that of former President Ronald Reagan.

“I think that the closest thing I can think of is Reagan, but I don’t think it’s the intensity that we have,” the billionaire told Bloomberg’s Mark Halperin and John Heilemann just minutes after he finished a rousing speech to a capacity crowd of 10,000 inside a Pensacola, Florida, arena on Wednesday night.

“Now, Reagan had a little bit of this, but I don’t think to the same extent—but he also won,” Trump said. 

Trump sought to emphasize that those who turned out to see him speak weren’t simply there for entertainment value. 

“It’s not just like, ‘Gee. It’s a little political rally and people are showing up to have fun.’ These people are committed,” he said.

He criticized pundits who question whether his supporters, many of whom haven’t voted in at least several election cycles, will show up at the polls. “Why would a person stand in line for seven hours and then not want to go into a voting booth?” he said. “It takes 10 minutes. So I think they’re going to vote.”

Trump offered a more measured response to rival Ted Cruz. According to the latest Bloomberg Politics/Des Moines Register Iowa Poll, Trump and the Texas senator are effectively tied at 22 percent and 25 percent, respectively. Cruz attacked Trump on Wednesday, saying he “embodies New York values.” That slight did not sit well. 

“When you want to knock New York, you’ve got to go through me. New York is an amazing place with amazing people,” Trump said. “We took a big hit with the World Trade Center—worst thing ever, worst attack ever in the United States, worse than Pearl Harbor because they attacked civilians, they attacked people having breakfast and frankly if you would’ve been there and if you would’ve lived through that like I did with New York people—the way they handled that attack was one of the most incredible things that anybody has ever seen.”

Despite Cruz’s stepped-up barbs toward Trump in the last few days, the billionaire was notably mild in response to other questions about Cruz, even regarding the New York Times report that the senator had failed to disclose with the Federal Election Commission around $1 million in loans from Goldman Sachs and Citibank for his successful 2012 Senate campaign. “Well, I heard it’s a big thing. I know nothing about it. But I hear it’s a very big thing,” Trump said. “I hope he solves it. I think he’s a nice guy and I hope he gets it solved.”

Cruz’s wife, Heidi, was said to take unpaid leave from Goldman Sachs, where she worked as a managing director, in March as her husband began his presidential bid. Cruz sought to downplay the Times report on Wednesday night, arguing the lack of disclosure to the FEC was little more than a clerical error. “The facts of the underlying filing question have been disclosed for many, many years. It is not complicated,” Cruz told reporters in South Carolina. “Our finances are not complicated.”

Although Trump declined to make a major issue of Cruz’s ties to Goldman Sachs, the New Yorker’s history suggests he hasn’t taken the matter off the table. He’s shown a tendency to alter course on how he treats his rivals, and the Cruz loan teases out several potential themes ‎Trump might find hard to resist as soon as in Thursday night’s debate in Charleston. The partly self-funded candidate has previously attacked rivals for receiving financing from big donors, which he argues means they’ll have to curry favors while in office.

Trump said both he and Cruz “have strong temperaments.”

“Honestly, I don’t know. He’s had a very nice temperament. He has a lot of problems with a lot of people. I can say there’s a lot of people that probably don’t like him,” Trump said. “They don’t want to be called, you know, liars on the Senate floor and frankly, it’s pretty tough stuff. But at the same time, he’s very upset like I am.”

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