Trump makes rival's phone number public

2015-07-22 17:14
Donald Trump (AP)

Donald Trump (AP)

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Bluffton - Presidential candidate Donald Trump has pulled a classic adolescent prank by releasing the phone number of a rival who dared to criticize him, the latest chapter in an on-going feud between the billionaire real estate mogul and other candidates for the Republican presidential nomination.

After Senator Lindsey Graham called Trump "the world's biggest jackass" during a television interview, the billionaire developer read Graham's personal cellphone number and showed it to TV cameras at a campaign event.

In the Capitol on Wednesday, Graham was chatting on his flip phone as he rode the elevator. Asked if he would be getting a new one, he laughed and said yes.

Trump is now at odds with much of the Republican establishment after a series of incendiary comments, topped by his weekend mocking of Arizona Senator John McCain's experience as a tortured prisoner of war in Vietnam.

Since then Trump has intensified his criticism of McCain and his record on veterans issues in the Senate, even as politicians from both parties and veterans groups have rushed to the defence of McCain, the 2008 Republican presidential candidate.

Trump had shot to the top of recent polls of the crowded Republican field, but these were taken before the flare up over his comments about McCain.

Trump is still seen as a long shot for the Republican nomination, but his incendiary remarks have shaken up the early stages of the race, drawing attention away from other top-tier candidates like former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and Florida Senator Mario Rubio. The latest Trump flare-up overshadowed Tuesday's campaign launch by Ohio Govenor John Kasich.

In a speech on Tuesday to hundreds of supporters in Bluffton, South Carolina, Trump kept going after McCain, accusing him of being soft on illegal immigration.

The reality television star also went after others who have criticized him in recent weeks, implying that former Texas Governor Rick Perry was unintelligent and Bush was weak.

McCain sparked Trump's temper last week when the Arizona senator said the businessman's inflammatory remarks about Mexican immigrants had brought out the "crazies." McCain said on Tuesday he would no longer respond to Trump's comments.

Biggest jackass

Graham, a McCain friend and one of the 16 notable Republicans running for the presidential nomination, betrayed the growing exasperation and anger of many in the party when he appeared earlier on "CBS This Morning."

"Don't be a jackass," Graham said. "Run for president. But don't be the world's biggest jackass."

He said Trump had "crossed the line with the American people" and predicted this would be "the beginning of the end with Donald Trump."

Trump responded during his speech by calling Graham an "idiot" and a "total lightweight," then held up a piece of paper and read out the senator's cellphone number. He said Graham had given him the number several years ago when he'd asked him to put in a good word with a morning news show.

"Give it a shot," Trump encouraged. "He won't fix anything, but at least he'll talk to you."

Graham's voice mailbox was full Tuesday afternoon. Spokesperson Brittany Brammell confirmed the number was his. Graham tweeted later: "Probably getting a new phone. iPhone or Android?"

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