Donald Trump has added fuel to the fire of his feud with Ted Cruz.
The GOP presidential hopeful, responding to attacks from the Texas senator of his "New York values," pointed out inconsistencies in his rival's own conservative credentials.
Trump called Cruz "a total hypocrite" in an interview with This Week host George Stephanopoulos, which aired Sunday. He pointed out that Cruz, who accused Trump of wavering on issues like abortion and LGBT rights, has accepted donations from supporters of same-sex marriage.
The former reality show star may be referring to a dinner that Cruz attended in April 2015. The event was hosted by Ian Reisner and Mati Weiderpass, gay men who own the Out NYC hotel.
At the dinner, the business partners cut the GOP candidate a check for $2,700, the maximum amount allowed in a nominating contest. News of the check to the antigay politician drew the ire of many in the LGBT community.
The dinner incited a volley of post-scandal interviews for Reisner and Weiderpass, who alternated between apologizing and lashing out (Reisner called gays "cheap" and "entitled" in one disastrous interview).
After the backlash, the hoteliers claimed the dinner was not a fundraiser. Moreover, Reisner said the money was intended for "work on behalf of Israel," and that they asked for the money back, as they claimed they has been unaware of the senator's antigay record.
Since the dinner, Cruz has amped his antigay views, banking on the support of the religious right as he continues his quest for the Republican presidential nomination. In November, he spoke at a controversial forum hosted by antigay preacher Kevin Swanson in Iowa.
Just this weekend, Cruz attended the National Security Forum at Rick Joyner’s MorningStar Church in Fort Mill, S.C. Joyner infamously told followers in 2011 that God sent Hurricane Katrina to stop events celebrating "perversion" — a gay pride parade in Key West, Fla., and the Southern Decadence festival in New Orleans.
At a GOP debate last Thursday, Cruz was asked to clarify what he meant by "New York values," a phrase he has used to discredit Trump. He responded, "...Everyone understands that the values in New York City are socially liberal or pro-abortion or pro-gay-marriage, focused around money and the media. … Not a lot of conservatives come out of Manhattan.”
Trump, for the record, has never officially supported same-sex marriage, reports the Human Rights Campaign. In the past, he has endorsed domestic partner benefits, but he later reversed his position on civil unions.
The New York native, who lags a few points behind Cruz in Iowa, 22 to 25 percent, called his rival "a very nasty guy" on the ABC talk show.
"Nobody likes him. Nobody in Congress likes him. Nobody likes him anywhere once they get to know him,” Trump said. “He's got an edge that's not good. You can't make deals with people like that, and it's not a good thing. It's not a good thing for the country.”
To support his allegations of hypocrisy, Trump also drew attention to Cruz's failure to disclose two one-million dollar loans, which he had used during his 2012 campaign for the U.S. Senate. He has also questioned if Cruz, who was born in Canada, is eligible to become president.