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Donald Trump used his closing debate statement to accuse Ted Cruz of cheating in Iowa

donald trump
donald trump

(Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
Donald Trump.

Donald Trump attacked Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) in his closing statement at the ABC News Republican debate Saturday night.

In his closing statement, Cruz talked about winning the Iowa caucuses. Trump had been leading the polls there for weeks before caucus night, but he ended up coming in second to Cruz.

"I campaigned in the state of Iowa foursquare against the ethanol mandate, something everyone said was political suicide," Cruz said.

"My two leading competitors both attacked me for it, the governor of the state said vote for anyone but Cruz, and lobbyists spent millions of dollars on attack ads," he continued. "But I stood and said we should have no mandates, a level playing field, and the people of Iowa put country and our children above the cronyism and corporate welfare."

Trump was next up to make his closing statement, and he used it to take a shot at Cruz and repeat accusations that Cruz "stole" the Iowa win.

When it was his turn to speak, Trump said, "That’s because you got Ben Carson’s votes, by the way, but we won’t say it."

Trump initially conceded to Cruz gracefully after his somewhat stunning Monday-night loss, but he eventually changed tactics, going on the attack later in the week to accuse Cruz of cheating.

On Twitter on Wednesday, Trump suggested that the Cruz campaign's actions on caucus night constituted "fraud" and said that either a new vote should take place or that the results should be "nullified."

Trump's accusations are based on messages from the Cruz campaign on caucus night, implying that retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson was planning to drop out of the race for the Republican presidential nomination.

The Cruz campaign called and sent messages to Iowa precinct captains on Monday saying that Carson was suspending his campaign and telling them that they should encourage people to caucus for Cruz instead. The Cruz campaign did not widely disseminate a clarification stating that Carson was not leaving the race.

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