In public, Ted Cruz seems to be a big fan of Donald Trump. But in private, he’s singing a different tune.
At a closed-door fundraising event in New York City, Cruz had plenty to say both about Trump and about another one of his opponents, Dr. Ben Carson. Unfortunately for the Texas Senator, Cruz’s comments were caught on tape by an attendee and leaked to The New York Times.
“Both of them I like and respect,” said Mr. Cruz, about Trump and Carson. “I don’t believe either one of them is going to be our president.”
Which isn’t an unexpected statement, since obviously, Cruz is running against Carson and Trump–and no matter how nice he may be in public, he’s running to beat them.
But then Cruz went beyond mere election platitudes–when he quickly listed exactly why he though both Trump and Carson were uniquely unqualified to be President.
Cruz explained: “You look at Paris, you look at San Bernardino, it’s given a seriousness to this race, that people are looking for: Who is prepared to be a commander in chief? Who understands the threats we face?”
He added, “Who am I comfortable having their finger on the button? Now that’s a question of strength, but it’s also a question of judgment. And I think that is a question that is a challenging question for both of them.”
Cruz also hinted at why he’s playing nice with both candidates right now: it’s not because he actually likes them but, rather, because he’s planning on snatching up their adoring supporters when their campaigns fall apart.
“So my approach, much to the frustration of the media, has been to bear hug both of them, and smother them with love,” Cruz explained.
He added, “I believe gravity will bring both of those campaigns down” and “the lion’s share of their supporters come to us.”
After The New York Times released the controversial audio recording, Cruz was asked about his remarks after a speech in Washington. Cruz simply replied that he was “not going to comment on what I may or may not have said at a private fund-raiser.”