The bromance has long ended and the bitter battle is only beginning to rage between Donald Trump and Ted Cruz as the Republican presidential primary devolves into a slugfest now that the crowded field is winnowing down to let the dominate contenders duke it out leading into the New Hampshire primary.
But first, the results of Monday's Iowa caucus continue to be a point of contention days after Cruz was declared the winner.
On Tuesday, Cruz was forced to apologize to Ben Carson's campaign for misleadingly suggesting to caucusing supporters that the retired neurosurgeon planned to drop out of the race in an apparent effort to corral additional voters to the Cruz camp. Carson actually only intended to return to Florida to change clothes before eventually returning to the campaign trail.
After initially shocking observers when he appeared to accept defeat with a modicum of graciousness Monday night, Trump decided to lash out at Cruz Wednesday, tweeting that a "either a new election should take place or Cruz results nullified":
Trump amplifying Carson's allegations of "dirty politics" played by the Cruz campaign surely wasn't what was expected when Cruz admitted fault while still defending his campaign's action as "fair game." After all, the Cruz campaign initially denied the allegations.
"For months, my campaign has survived the lies and dirty tricks from opponents who profess to to detest the games of the political class, but in reality are masters at it,” Carson complained on Monday before citing various "political tricks" by the Cruz campaign.
During an interview with right wing radio host Mike Gallagher today, Cruz walked back much of his admission of guilt and shifted blame to the librul media for turning Carson against him.
“Well, look, I was disappointed that an impression had been left that was incomplete," Cruz told Gallagher. "It was based on public news reports, and so some of the media folks who want to use it to impugn integrity are deliberately using it in a misleading way.”
Responding directly to Trump's calls for an Iowa do-over, Cruz spokesman Rick Tyler mocked The Donald's tantrum in a statement to the "Washington Examiner" on Wednesday.
"Reality just hit the reality star — he lost Iowa and now nobody is talking about him, so he's popping off on Twitter. There are support groups for Twitter addiction, perhaps he should find his local chapter."