Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) challenged rival Donald Trump to a one-on-one confrontation Wednesday night, just hours after the real estate mogul announced he was dropping out of Thursday’s Republican presidential debate.
“We’ll do 90 minutes, Lincoln-Douglas, mano-a-mano, Donald and me,” Cruz told an audience in Fairfield, Iowa, according to NBC News. “He can lay out his vision for this country, and I can lay out my vision for this country in front of the men and women of Iowa.”
The Trump campaign’s last-minute announcement came after Fox News strongly defended debate moderator Megyn Kelly, who Trump has claimed is “biased” against him. Their one-sided feud began last fall after the real estate mogul accused her of having “blood coming out of her whatever” because he disliked the questions she asked him during the first Republican presidential debate.
Cruz accused Trump of being “scared to face Megyn Kelly” and told the Fairfield crowd he was a “fragile soul,” according to NBC.
He also launched a late-night petition drive asking voters to support the head-to-head debate, referring to his GOP rival as “ducking Donald.”
“My friend Donald Trump is happy to sling insults and speculate from afar, while tearing others down to try and lift himself up,” the email petition reads. “But now he is refusing to debate matters of substance.”