Donald Trump has warned voters not to be “duped” by Vivek Ramaswamy, accusing his Republican rival of “deceitful campaign tricks”.
Mr Trump took to his social media platform Truth Social with a scathing post on Saturday, ahead of the Iowa caucuses on 15 January.
He currently leads both the national and state polls by a considerable margin, followed in the latter by Nikki Haley and Ron DeSantis.
In his post, he warned against voting for Mr Ramaswamy, and once again took aim at President Joe Biden, blaming him for the multiple indictments he faces.
“Vivek started his campaign as a great supporter, ‘the best President in generations,’ etc,” he wrote.
“Unfortunately, now all he does is disguise his support in the form of deceitful campaign tricks. Very sly, but a vote for Vivek is a vote for the ‘other side’ — don’t get duped by this.
“Vote for ‘TRUMP,’ don’t waste your vote! Vivek is not MAGA. The Biden Indictments against his Political Opponent will never be allowed in this Country, they are already beginning to fall! MAGA!!!”
Much of Iowa remained below zero on the thermometer Sunday, but that didn’t seem to phase the GOP hopefuls, with campaigns continuing on at full steam.
A final poll by NBC News/Des Moines Register/Mediacom shows Mr Trump commanding 48 per cent of the vote, with Ms Haley taking 20 per cent and Mr DeSantis on 16 per cent.
Mr Ramaswamy earned just 8 per cent of the vote in the poll, just higher than those surveyed who said they were “not sure” – at 5 per cent.
Mr Trump’s remarks come despite Mr Ramaswamy’s previous public support for him. After Colorado’s Supreme Court barred Mr Trump from the ballot under the 14th Amendment, Mr Ramaswamy pledged to remove himself from the ballot and asked his fellow Republican presidential hopefuls to do the same.
He has also said he would pardon the former president if he wins the general election. On Saturday, he told The Hill: “I respect the hell out of Trump. He’s the best President of the 21st century. I’ve defended him at every step against the unjust persecutions.”