The race for the Republican Party's 2016 presidential nomination veered slightly further into the surreal Wednesday as candidates Donald Trump and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul devolved into publicly feuding over a recent game of golf. The spat started with an attack ad Rand's campaign released that included old clips of Trump calling himself "liberal on healthcare," and a fan of Hillary Clinton. Trump sent out a statement saying these were positions he "no longer holds."
Then Trump took things in a different direction.
"Recently, Rand Paul called me and asked me to play golf. I easily beat him on the golf course and will even more easily beat him now, in the world in the politics [sic]," Trump said in a statement first reported by the Washington Post. "Senator Paul does not mention that after trouncing him in golf I made a significant donation to the eye center with which he is affiliated."
Normally, the reality TV moment ends here, without a response in kind from Trump's victim. But this time Paul's camp felt like addressing the insult. His chief strategist, Doug Stafford, released a statement calling Trump "devoid of ideas," and then talked about his candidate's golf game.
“While he appreciates Donald’s golf skills, I will note that it was on his home course that he plays often. And he does sincerely appreciate Donald’s generosity to the eye clinic," Stafford wrote. "In fact he has mentioned it often, including in his op-ed and speeches this weekend."
Several of Trump's golf clubs did not respond immediately for comment about the greatest game ever played.
The Kentucky senator, who has called Trump a "fake conservative," appears to be the current bearer of the anti-Trump message on behalf of the GOP field: During the blockbuster Fox News Channel debate in Cleveland last week, Paul jumped all over Trump right away on the first question, after Trump refused to pledge support for the party's eventual nominee.
Later, Paul went after Trump for his answer on healthcare, saying Trump was arguing for a single-payer system.
"I'm not arguing that, I don't think you heard me. You're having a hard time tonight," Trump said, as the audience roared.