Donald TrumpDonald TrumpNew tapes reveal Trump's view of the media and himself Poll: Trump up by 2 points in Florida Senior House Republicans fighting for their lives MORE's campaign is ridiculing news that the super-PAC supporting Ohio Gov. John Kasich is planning an advertising assault against the billionaire Republican front-runner.
"Who? John Kasich? Is he still running?" said Trump's campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, when asked about Politico's story
that the pro-Kasich super-PAC will spend $2.5 million hitting Trump.
Lewandowski continued: "I think [Kasich] is at 2 percent in the polls. Was he even in the debate? Oh yeah, he was on the outskirts of the stage. Was he? I think he was in the debate. I think he was in the debate. He was the guy who gave the worst performance."
Trump took to Twitter on Thursday night to slam Kasich, saying his “failed campaign & debating skills have brought him way down in the polls.”
“John Kasich should focus his special interest money on building up his failed image, not negative ads on me,” Trump added.
The anti-Trump campaign — first reported by Politico and later confirmed to The Hill by a spokeswoman for Kasich's super-PAC New Day for America — will run over the next two months on TV, radio, direct mail and online.
"We will be the tip of the spear against Trump," another spokesman for the super-PAC, Matt David, told Politico.
David added that the ads are designed to "accelerate what we believe would be buyers' remorse" from a Trump presidency. The first ad, titled 'Commander-In-Chief', launched Thursday, contrasting Kasich's experience in foreign affairs against the inexperience of retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson and Trump.
The ad buy will focus on New Hampshire, where Kasich has pinned his hopes but where Trump leads him by almost 20 points
, according to the latest polling averages from RealClearPolitics.
Creating two of the commercials will be Hollywood ad man Fred Davis, who produced the famous "Demon Sheep" ad
to help businesswoman Carly Fiorina in the 2010 California Senate campaign.
Kasich's super-PAC is the first candidate-specific group to go after Trump in a concerted fashion.
While establishment Republicans have long been anxious about the possibility of Trump winning the party's presidential nomination, there has been widespread confusion about how to most effectively combat a man who has no compunction about slinging intensely personal insults at his opponents.
Just one group — the free-market advocates Club for Growth — has hit Trump with a major advertising campaign, spending $1 million in Iowa
on anti-Trump ads.
The candidates who have struck Trump hardest have already quit the race.
Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry described the billionaire as a "cancer" on the conservative movement, and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal saw no benefit from his increasingly flamboyant descriptions of Trump's alleged maladies.
Others, such as Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, have judged that the best strategy is to embrace Trump.
Kasich's super-PAC will soon find out if it can defy the trend.
Updated at 8:26 p.m.