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Story highlights

Speaking at a church outside Reno on Tuesday, Ted Cruz responded to criticism from Donald Trump

The Texas senator says, "I've got two guidebooks, the Bible and the Constitution"

(CNN) —  

Ted Cruz is firing back at Donald Trump’s latest attack that he is “sick.”

Speaking at a church outside Reno on Tuesday, Cruz, who often says he will not engage in the mudslinging on the campaign trail but instead will draw policy distinctions, began by critiquing Trump’s stance on federal lands.

“Donald Trump has explicitly come out against transferring the land from the federal government back to the state of Nevada or the people of Nevada,” Cruz said.

“So yesterday, Mr. Trump told people in Vegas that Ted is – quote – ‘sick’ because he keeps lying. Well, I’ll tell you, it’s very interesting. You can go and watch the video of Donald being asked about what do you think about transferring the land in Nevada, back to the people of Nevada. Donald, well, I don’t support that.”

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Cruz called out Trump for shifting his position on federal lands, citing a video of Trump being asked about the issue. But the Texas Senator blamed Trump’s change in policy on not having a core set of principles and beliefs.

“Look, I frankly don’t care what position Donald decides to support today, tomorrow or the next day. They change every day. I don’t care what they are. But pick one and defend it and don’t pretend that whenever people suddenly point out what you said, ‘Oh, never mind.’ And look, part of the reason someone vacillates from position to position to position is they’re not starting from a core set of principles and beliefs,” Cruz said.

Cruz said he makes decisions based on “two guidebooks.”

“Look, for me its real simple, I’ve got two guidebooks, the Bible and the Constitution. And when you’re starting from those guidebooks, it’s not hard to figure out where you end up.”

This ramped-up attack from Cruz marks some of his strongest criticism of the businessman’s character yet. Trump is poised for a big win in the Nevada caucuses this evening as Cruz struggles to regain momentum.

“It’s easy to say you want to make America great again, you can even print it on a baseball cap, but the question is do you understand the principles that made America great in the first place,” Cruz said.