Ted Cruz Sees Donald Trump’s Fan Base Coming His Way
Senator Ted Cruz, who has made a point of embracing his Republican rival Donald J. Trump, has broken ranks with him, predicting publicly that the billionaire businessman’s supporters will eventually come to him when his campaign collapses.
“I think that, in time, I don’t believe Donald is going to be the nominee and I think, in time, the lion’s share of his supporters end up with us,” Mr. Cruz said in an interview on Thursday with WABC radio.
Unlike many Republicans in the race, Mr. Cruz has refused to be critical of Mr. Trump’s inflammatory remarks or to question his conservative credentials. The senator from Texas said that he still likes and respects Mr. Trump, but made clear that he thought his presence in the race would ultimately benefit his own effort.
“I think his involvement has been tremendously helpful to my campaign, because it’s framed the central question as who will stand up to Washington,” Mr. Cruz said.
Asked whether he would ultimately beat Mr. Trump on those grounds based on his principles and record, Mr. Cruz said, “I think that’s right.”
Last month, Mr. Cruz invited Mr. Trump to join in him at a rally against the Iran nuclear deal in Washington, and he has repeatedly praised him for shining the spotlight on important issues. The suggestion that he thinks Mr. Trump’s effort is ultimately doomed raises questions about how he will handle him at the next Republican presidential debate later this month.
Mr. Trump has so far also refrained from attacking Mr. Cruz. An avowed “counterpuncher,” Mr. Trump has warned that he will hit back if Mr. Cruz is critical of him, or if he begins to creep higher in the polls.