Can Donald Trump become best friends with the man he dismisses as “Lyin’ ” Ted Cruz?
Speaking at a rally Sunday in a packed airport hangar in Hagerstown, Md., with a 5,000-person capacity, the Republican presidential front-runner suggested the friendship could happen despite the bruising primary season. Maryland is one of five states along the Northeast Corridor that will vote Tuesday, an opportunity for Trump to widen his delegate lead over Cruz, a senator from Texas.
After tearing into Cruz as the worst liar he has encountered and accusing him of trying to bribe delegates, Trump offered praise for his fallen rivals in the once 17-person GOP field.
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, whom Trump last month declared “is not doing a great job,” became a “great” governor. He dubbed Sen. Marco Rubio (Fla.) “a great guy” instead of “Little Marco.” And he called Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (S.C.) – whose cellphone number he once gave out at a rally -- “a nice guy.”
“Once I defeat them, I like every one of them,” Trump said. “I don’t like Lyin’ Ted … but in about four or five weeks from now, I think he’s going to be one of my best friends.”
But Trump told the rally-goers to expect him to play golf instead of offering contrived platitudes for a well-fought campaign if he ends up losing.
“I’m not going to ever do that, folks,” he said. “It’s a phony business, this politics."
With an eye to the general election, Trump offered a harsher assessment of the Democratic presidential contenders, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, whom he called a communist.
He predicted record voter turnout in a general election matchup between himself and Clinton, which he described as a battle between “crooked Clinton and wonderful Donald.”
Trump chose a working-class rural community close to the border of Pennsylvania, which also will vote Tuesday, for his rally site.