July 21, 2015

Trump gives out Graham's cell phone number, lodges personal attacks

Politics Donald Trump
Donald Trump Dominick Reuter/Reuters

Businessman and Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks to supporters during a back-yard reception in Bedford, New Hampshire, June 30, 2015.

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump continued to stir the pot Tuesday when he lodged a bevy of personal attacks against South Carolina Senator and rival presidential candidate Lindsey Graham. Trump gave out Graham's personal cell phone number in the process. 

During an appearance for supporters in South Carolina, Trump took a shot at Graham's poll numbers and called him an "idiot," Time reports. His comments came after Graham appeared on "CBS This Morning" earlier in the day and called Trump a "jackass" for a number of his controversial comments, including questioning Arizona Senator John McCain's war record. 

While going after Graham, Trump proceeded to hand out the senator's private cell phone number, asking people to call it. Politico called the number, reportedly getting a hold of Graham who said he had wondered why he was getting an influx of calls. 

Trump claimed Graham, who is also seeking the presidency in the November 2016 election, had called him several years ago looking for connections at Fox News and for campaign contributions.

"You know, I'm saying to myself, what is this guy, a beggar?" Trump said of Graham during the rally in Bluffton, South Carolina.

"He gave me his number, and I found the card. I wrote the number down. I don't know if it's the right number. Let's try it," Trump told the crowd before reading out a phone number with a Washington area code.

"He won't fix anything, but at least he'll talk to you," Trump said.

A phone call to the number by a Reuters reporter went to a voicemail message that said the number belonged to Graham. Graham's presidential campaign confirmed the number was the senator's.

"Donald Trump continues to show hourly that he is ill-prepared to be commander in chief," Christian Ferry, Graham's campaign manager, said in a statement.

Trump has infuriated Republicans by criticizing fellow members of the party and made many of them uncomfortable with harsh remarks about illegal immigration and other issues.

His latest dust-up involved criticizing the war record of U.S. Senator John McCain, an Arizona Republican who is close friends with Graham.

"I don't care if he drops out. Stay in the race, just stop being a jackass," Graham said of Trump on Tuesday in an interview with CBS News.

Ben Carson, another of the 16 Republicans seeking the presidency, said there was too much focus on Trump, The Washington Post said on Tuesday.

"For us to get caught up in a controversy of well, 'What did Donald Trump mean when he said that?' It just seems so petty to me," Carson said at an event in Virginia, the Post reported.

Trump also attacked former Florida Governor Jeb Bush's stance on immigration and the Obama administration's recent nuclear deal with Iran. In a slight against both Perry and Graham, the real estate mogul said that the former is probably smarter than the latter, following up with a snide comment about Perry's glasses. 

His comments come after the release of Monday's Washington Post/ABC News poll that shows Trump with a commanding lead against his Republican counterparts. Trump garnered 24 percent of potential Republican voters in that poll, far ahead of Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker (13 percent) and Bush (12 percent). 

Reuters contributed to this news report.