Republican Donald Trump’s top staffer in Iowa accused rival Sen. Ted Cruz’s (R-TX) campaign Tuesday of blatantly bribing delegates but backpedaled on the accusations when pressed for specifics.
Asked on CNN whether the Cruz campaign has proved better at “gathering” delegates so far in the race, Tana Goertz, Iowa co-chair for the Trump campaign, responded they haven’t been ethically collecting delegates at all.
“Oh, no, no, no, not gathering delegates, stealing, lying, and bribing people to become delegates. I’m sorry if I wasn’t clear,” Goertz, a former contest on “The Apprentice,” responded with a smile.
But when CNN hosts John Berman and Kate Bolduan followed up, Goertz was thin on the details but claimed she’d “seen it in action” working on the ground.
“Oh just, you know, bribing people to become a delegate for him and what and what he’ll promise them I do not know because I actually didn’t have a recording device to hear the bribes,” she said.
Bolduan pressed on about what exactly Goertz had seen, saying it was the first time they’d heard from a Trump staffer who reported seeing bribery of delegates in action.
Goertz said she’s witnessed the “corruptness” of the “rigged system” that Trump talks about on the campaign trail.
The CNN hosts didn’t let her off the hook.
“But Tana, you stated several things,” Berman began. “First of all, you have seen corruptness. I’m curious exactly what corruptness looks like. But you said you’ve seen the bribes in action but you said you don’t have specifics about what was being offered. Doesn’t a bribe require something specific being offered? What was offered? If you’re accusing them of bribing, you should be able to back that up.”
Goertz said she would be happy to provide specifics after she spoke with Trump himself.
“Well, once I talk to Mr. Trump about it and he says I’m at liberty to say these things, I will be more than happy to come back on your show and explain to you about what I saw,” she said.
Bolduan tried again: “But you have definitely seen a bribe occur?”
“I have seen shady behavior. Let’s just call it that,” Goertz answered. “But until I speak to Mr. Trump, I’m not at liberty to discuss this.”
Later on the show, Cruz’s delegate adviser Ken Cuccinelli called the allegations “BS” and another of the Trump campaign’s “Gestapo tactics.”
Watch the exchange, captured by TPM:
This post has been updated.