Trump said Wednesday on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” that Cruz called him to set up the meeting, but said he didn’t know what the Texas Republican wanted to discuss.
The meeting came amid Trump’s rise in the polls to second and first place in the latest national polls and as Cruz has played weeks of defense for Trump amid the billionaire’s controversial comments likening some Mexican immigrants to “killers” and “rapists.”
“I do respect the fact that along with a couple of others he came out very strongly,” Trump said of Cruz’s backup on the illegal immigration saga.
Cruz and Trump have both locked heads with the Republican establishment, with Cruz fighting the status quo in Congress with unorthodox tactics, while Trump has locked horns with party elites over whether his comments about illegal immigrants have hurt the party’s outreach to Latino voters.
For his part, Cruz said Trump is bringing a “bold, brash voice” and criticized other candidates (not by name) who “go out of their way to smack Donald Trump.”
Following the meeting, Cruz said the two had “a delightful conversation.”
“I’m a big fan of Donald’s, and we talked about the race,” Cruz told reporters. “We talked about how we are each enjoying it and how there is a need for more truth tellers.”
Asked if Cruz had asked for Trump’s endorsement, the Texas senator said, “No, we had a conversation about the race. He’s running, I’m running, and we both agreed that we started out as friends, and will end as friends.”
Trump had met with many other GOP presidential hopefuls, including Cruz, in the months before he decided to launch his own bid.
Trump also donated $5,000 to Cruz’s political action committee last year.