Sen. Ted Cruz defended Donald Trump on immigration and called out “the Washington cartel” he says is ignoring the issue, in an interview to be broadcast Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”Hey, I thought Cruz really believed he could become president. Does he just want to be Trump's running mate?
“I salute Donald Trump for focusing on the need to address illegal immigration,” Cruz said of his rival for the 2016 GOP nomination, adding that it “seems the favorite sport of the Washington media is to encourage some Republicans to attack other Republicans.”
“I’m not interested in Republican on Republican violence,” he told host Chuck Todd, adding that “bold … brash” Trump “has a colorful way of speaking.”
The Texas senator’s comments were similar to his defense of Trump during Fox & Friends on Tuesday.
“When it comes to Donald Trump, I like Donald Trump,” Cruz said on the show. “I think he’s terrific.”
I'm joking, of course. I imagine that what Cruz is thinking is that Trump is peaking now, and that when Trump drops out of the race, probably early in the process, Cruz will be in a position to pick up his voters.
Except that Trump is nine points ahead of Cruz in the latest CNN national poll of Republicans. Trump is seven points ahead of Cruz in the two latest polls of New Hampshire, from Suffolk University and CNN/WMUR. Trump is one point ahead of Cruz in the latest Quinnipiac poll of Iowa (and they're both well behind Scott Walker). Trump is nine points ahead of Cruz in the latest PPP survey of Michigan.
If Cruz thinks he can just bide his time until Trump drops out, I think he has the wrong strategy. It looks as if Cruz will be the one to drop out first, and then Trump will get his votes.
I think Trump has, as the saying goes, limited upside potential -- a lot of Republicans still don't like him and never will. In this way, he's like Ron Paul -- and, like Ron Paul, he'll probably stay in the race way past the point at which he's mathematically eliminated, just for the adulation.
But in the meantime, he's going to make Ted Cruz irrelevant (a process Cruz is abetting with his me-too-ism). I think, in the early states, he'll help drive Cruz out of the race.
UPDATE: Looks as if it's a mutual admiration society:
On Saturday, Trump ... praised what he considers fellow candidate and Texas GOP Sen. Ted Cruz’s tough immigration stance, calling him “very brave.”I think this is a ticket.