By Steve Holland
DES MOINES (Reuters) - An influential conservative magazine published an editorial on Thursday urging Republicans to rally against the front-running presidential candidate Donald Trump, with Iowa poised to begin the search for a 2016 nominee in 10 days.
National Review, a New York-based magazine founded in 1955 by famed conservative thinker William F. Buckley Jr., drew heavy scorn from Trump, on Twitter and at a Las Vegas news conference, for its issue entitled: "Against Trump."
"Trump is a philosophically unmoored political opportunist who would trash the broad conservative ideological consensus within the GOP (Republican Party) in favor of a free-floating populism with strong-man overtones," National Review said.
The magazine's argument is one that has been made by several of his rivals for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination, most notably by former Florida Governor Jeb Bush.
But nothing has stopped Trump from seizing control of the race and putting him in position to win not only Iowa's caucuses but also New Hampshire's first-in-the-nation primary on Feb. 9.
A CNN/ORC poll on Thursday said Trump had taken a solid lead over Texas Senator Ted Cruz in Iowa, with 37 percent to 26 percent for Cruz. Cruz has led other polls in Iowa.
National Review said Trump, a New York billionaire and former reality TV star, had in the past supported abortion, gun control and higher taxes on the wealthy, all positions that conservatives oppose.
The issue's cover read "Cage Match - The GOP's Internal Fight" and portrayed a bare-chested, double-chinned Trump, with a necklace of dollar signs tattooed across his torso, flanked by four less muscular rivals for the Republican crown.
Trump waved off the attack in characteristic fashion.
"The late, great, William F. Buckley would be ashamed of what had happened to his prize, the dying National Review!" he tweeted.
At a Las Vegas news conference, Trump said he would bring Republicans together if nominated.
"Honestly the party has to be healed, has to be brought together and I think the party can be brought together," he said.
(Reporting By Steve Holland; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)