Republican presidential candidate Ted CruzTed CruzHouse approves stopgap funding, averting costly shutdown Overnight Tech: TV box plan faces crucial vote | Trump transition team to meet tech groups | Growing scrutiny of Yahoo security Could Snapchat be the digital bridge to younger voters? MORE on Tuesday suggested the GOP establishment is making a concerted effort to side with rival Donald TrumpDonald TrumpClinton holds narrow leads in five battleground states Detroit newspaper breaks with tradition, endorses Gary Johnson Abortion rights group ads tie vulnerable GOP senators to Trump MORE over him in the presidential race.
“The establishment is beginning to support Donald Trump,” Cruz told BuzzFeed News, adding that Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad — who on Tuesday urged voters not to vote for Cruz — was part of the same "cronyism" establishment as Trump.
“It is not a surprise that the establishment is in full panic mode,” Cruz said. “We predicted from the very beginning that the Washington cartel would fire every tool in its arsenal to prevent a conservative victory in this primary.
"The cartel exists to make deals and to pick winners and losers through cronyism and corporate welfare.”
Cruz added that it’s not surprising the establishment is siding with Trump, because he has "promised to make deals and to continue the cronyism and corporate welfare of Washington.”
At the Iowa Renewable Fuels Summit on Tuesday, Branstad called Cruz the "biggest opponent of renewable fuels" in the presidential race. Cruz received backlash for his position on the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), which mandates the amount of ethanol refiners mix into their gasoline supply.
Cruz said he supported a five-year phase-out of the standard but has in the past backed measures to immediately end the RFS.
Branstad said he does not want Cruz to win the Iowa caucuses.
Cruz tried to use Trump’s business background against him, telling reporters Trump attacked him as a candidate who wouldn't go to Washington "to make a deal and go along to get along with the Democrats.
“If you’re looking for someone who’s a dealmaker, who’ll capitulate even more to the Democrats, who’ll give in to Chuck Schumer, Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi, then perhaps Donald Trump is your man," Cruz said.
The attacks come as Cruz and Trump battle for first place in Iowa polls, with the state’s caucuses less than two weeks away.