DES MOINES — Then-candidate Donald Trump asked state GOP Chairman Jeff Kaufmann in 2016 to publicly “disavow” results of the presidential caucus that had him coming in second, the Republican Party confirmed Tuesday.
The anecdote was first told in national political reporter Tim Alberta’s new book, “American Carnage,” and was confirmed by a spokesman for the Republican Party of Iowa.
Texas Sen. Ted Cruz won the 2016 Republican caucuses with 28 percent. Trump finished second with 24 percent.
It was one of the few states Trump did not win on his march to the Republican Party’s nomination in the 2016 primary.
In the final days leading up to the 2016 caucuses, Cruz’s campaign left voice and text messages with supporters saying candidate Ben Carson was set to drop out of the race and telling supporters to spread that news and urge Carson’s voters to caucus for Cruz. But Carson did not drop out for another month.
Shortly after the caucus results were announced, Trump called Kaufmann from his jet at the Des Moines airport.
“You know what the Cruz people did. They threw the vote,” Trump said, according to Alberta’s book. “I think you need to publicly disavow the result.”
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Kaufmann said he could not do that, especially after Republicans mistakenly called the razor-close 2012 caucuses for Mitt Romney, only to later determine the winner was Rick Santorum.
“You should disavow the result,” Trump repeated, according to Alberta’s book. “Think about it, will you?”
A Republican Party of Iowa spokesman said the anecdote in Alberta’s book, which was published Tuesday, is presented with proper context and said the party does not plan to release a statement.
In the immediate days after the 2016 caucuses, Trump tweeted a handful of times about Cruz and the caucus results.
Separate tweets from Trump two days after the caucuses read, “Based on the fraud committed by Senator Ted Cruz during the Iowa Caucus, either a new election should take place or Cruz results nullified,” and “The State of Iowa should disqualify Ted Cruz from the most recent election on the basis that he cheated- — total fraud!”