Column: Cruz, Trump need to focus on real issues

This March 24, 2016, file photo shows Republican Presidential candidate U.S. Senator Ted Cruz making a stop at the Armory restaurant in downtown Janesville, Wis. Donald Trump is planning Tuesday to make his first campaign visit to Wisconsin, where the upcoming Republican presidential primary could mark a turning point in the unpredictable GOP race. But rival Cruz has gotten a jumpstart on the contest, racking up influential endorsements, campaigning in key regions and supported by bullish advertising campaign. (Anthony Wahl/The Janesville Gazette via AP)

Republican presidential candidates Donald Trump and Senator Ted Cruz spent Easter weekend sparring back and forth over the issues of one another’s wife in relation to their campaigns. With Trump leading the crusade, it fell to presidential candidate and Ohio Gov. John Kasich to try and end the feud, so as to bring the focus back to real issues.

Both Mr. Trump and Mr. Cruz need to pull the focus off of one another’s personal life and focus instead on the issues that will actually affect this country.

The feud began on Twitter, when the anti-Trump “super-PAC” Make America Awesome posted a tweet depicting Melania Trump naked in an effort to deter Mormon voters. Trump responded to the tweet, saying that Cruz should tread lightly, or he will bring up unsavory information regarding Heidi Cruz.

Since then, the two have been battling it out over who said what, even as results from primaries continue to roll in. This is a far cry from the “buddy-buddy” relationship the two had earlier this year. More importantly, this hardly represents appropriate behavior for presidential candidates.

Campaign season generally becomes more personal as November approaches. Candidates resort to muckraking in hopes of contrasting themselves against their opponents; yet the subject these two men are debating has no relation to the position for which they are campaigning. They are dragging their egos and emotions out and making fools of themselves in the process. They are providing targets for their opponents to attack while diminishing their own platforms. 

This of course does not even begin to address the hypocrisy that will surely emerge later in the campaign. Both Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton have faced personal attacks from Republicans – Clinton more so than Sanders. President Bill Clinton’s infidelity issues have already been brought up multiple times by Republicans.

When questioned about the feud with Trump, Sen. Cruz specifically said “Let me be absolutely clear: our spouses and our children are off bounds.” While commitment to real issues is important, if Secretary Clinton were to secure the nomination, her spouse would undoubtedly continue to be a talking point.

If Cruz is serious about leaving spouses and families out of the debate, then he must commit to that throughout the entire campaign. 

While Bill Clinton’s actions as president are relevant to how Hillary will perform if elected president in November, the personal issues that both of them went through should not be brought up. The same Republicans who are speaking out against the Cruz-Trump feud will be totally silent on the Clinton issue come election time.

This type of attacking is nothing new. Most of Trump’s campaign has revolved around personal attacks. He has attacked Marco Rubio on his manhood, President Barack Obama on his looks and even Hillary Clinton on her use of the restroom during one of the debates. 

Cruz has acted in no better way, questioning President Obama’s commitment to America and its values. In both the past and the present, these men have been in the wrong, resorting to attacks on people, not politics. While their speeches have certainly whipped crowds into frenzies and gained them a lot of support, their attacks actually carry very little weight.

A personal attack is just that: personal. There is no substance to these remarks and all they really do is show that a candidate is weak to gossip. We expect presidents to be intelligent and strong-minded individuals who are mature enough to lead a great nation. We do not expect them to make personal attacks and act like vindictive spoiled brats who are always trying to one up each other.

This Trump and Cruz twitter feud has gone on long enough. While it was a nice break from the election at hand, it is time for both candidates to get back to the real issues. While what their respective wives do in their personal lives is enticing gossip, this sort of back-and-forth has absolutely zero political weight. Trump and Cruz need to stop acting like immature children and start acting presidential if they really see themselves worthy of office.


Amar Batra is a contributor to the Daily Campus opinion section, and is also a staff photographer. He can be reached via email at amar.batra@uconn.edu. He tweets at@amar_batra19.