Donald Trump went after Ted Cruz’s reliance on Super PACs at the GOP debate in Miami on Thursday, saying that his own history of buying influence with politicians better positions him to take on systemic corruption than having been on the receiving end.
“These Super PACs are a disaster, by the way, folks. Very corrupt. It’s going to lead to lots of disasters. But Ted has Super PACs, and you have to look at the people that are giving to those Super PACs, number one,” said the real estate mogul. “It’s very important to do that.”
Super PACs are technically “independent” groups that allow corporations and wealthy individuals to spend unlimited sums of money backing candidates.
“There is total control of the candidates,” Trump said. “I know it better than anybody that probably ever lived. And I will tell you this: I know the system far better than anybody else and I know the system is broken.” He went on:
And I’m the one, because I know it so well because I was on both sides of it. I was on the other side all my life and I’ve always made large contributions. And frankly, I know the system better than anybody else and I’m the only one up here that’s going to be able to fix that system because that system is wrong.
Although Trump criticized Super PACs and does not currently have any backing him, he did not rule out embracing them in the general election.
Watch the exchange:
Cruz has rallied a phalanx of Super PACs, which has raised more than $40 million during the course of the race, in addition to the $56 million raised by his campaign. Trump’s campaign has raised $25 million to date, 70 percent of it from self-funding. Prior to Super Tuesday, Republican Super PACs had already aired 8,500 ads against Trump.
Although Trump did not get into specifics, he could have mentioned how two Texas billionaires who made their fortunes in fracking gave $15 million to outside groups backing the senator. Cruz is an outspoken advocate of fracking.
And making a further mockery of rules that ban coordination between Super PACs and campaigns, one of Cruz’s former chiefs of staff just took the helm of the Trusted Leadership PAC, a Super PAC that is coordinating pro-Cruz activities.