Ted Cruz swatted away the idea that Donald Trump’s conversion to Republicanism was genuine, saying that Trump’s late-life change to conservatism was in no way similar to that of another former Democrat, Ronald Reagan.
“Ronald Reagan did not spend the first 60 years of his life supporting Democratic politicians, advocating for big government,” Cruz told reporters here, adding other examples, including “supporting things like the TARP big bank bailouts, supporting things like expanding Obamacare to turn it into socialized medicine. That’s not what Ronald Reagan did.”
Cruz, who has shed all caution about attacking Trump after months of playing nice, continued to aggressively bash Trump in media appearances, while giving him a light touch in front of audiences on the trail.
When asked about Trump’s latest line of attack – that some unreported bank loans to Cruz show he is controlled by Wall Street interests – the Texas senator turned the tables, telling the Kuhner Report that it was Trump who had stood with big business during the fights over TARP and the 2009 economic stimulus package.
“I don’t come from wealth. Unlike Donald, I didn’t inherit millions of dollars,” defending his loans from Goldman Sachs and CitiBank. “You want to assess who stands with Wall Street? Then look at the actual records of the candidates.”
But the the main thrust of Cruz’s argument so far has been to assail Trump’s giving history to Democrats – again using Reagan as a foil.
“I’m pretty sure that Ronald Reagan didn’t write a huge check to Rahm Emanuel in December 2010 – after, by the way, the big tea party wave,” Cruz said of the now-mayor of Chicago.
“If he publicly supports their views and he finances their causes and if he’s done so for 60 years of his life, and then suddenly when he announces as candidate for president, every single one of his views changes,” Cruz told Kuhner, then his new position is suspect.
Cruz insists he will not turn the battle with Trump into a personal war, sticking closely to policy contrasts. And he offered another one on Monday, pointing to his pledge to cancel the country’s nuclear accord with Iran – which Trump has said in the past that he merely wants to honor and improve.
“I disagree with Donald,” Cruz said here. “We need a leader who is prepared to do what is ever needed to keep this country safe, and that typically doesn’t include spending your time on Twitter.”
But Cruz did not whack Trump to crowds at his first two events in the Granite State, and when asked by Kuhner why he remains somewhat circumspect about hitting him explicitly, Cruz did not bite.
“Are you essentially saying Trump is a fraud and a Democrat?” Kuhner asked Cruz.
“Those are you words, Jeff,” Cruz told his host, only adding that he “likes” and “respects” him.
Cruz’s campaign announced Monday that they canceled two planned events on Wednesday so he can return to Washington. Votes are scheduled in the Senate on how to deal with the refugee crisis in Syria, and Cruz has been an outspoken critic of resettling them in the United States.