Senator Ted Cruz joined me Friday morning:
HH: From Carly Fiornia, who is Ted Cruz’s pick to be the next vice president of the United States to the senator himself. Senator Cruz, welcome back to the Hugh Hewitt Show.
TC: Hugh, it’s great to be with you, thank you for having me.
HH: I just talked a half-hour with Carly Fiorina, I’d like to ask you, is she ready to be president should you win the presidency and then get hit by a truck.
TC: Well, I believe it is and I tell you that was the most important consideration when you are running for president, I think the most serious and solemn decision you make is obsessing who should be the vice presidential nominee, who’s in the position to step in and lead the country and honor the promises that were made to the people and defend the Constitution and most importantly, be commander-in-chief and keep this country safe from the threats we face across the globe.
HH: Walk us through, if you will, Senator Cruz, your decision-making, which has criticized by some, applauded by others, and your timing on the Fiorina selection.
TC: Sure, we began some time ago, I think any serious candidate for president has to be well into the process by now. We’re less than a hundred days away from the convention. We began with an extended list of just over 40 people that we compiled that were plausible candidates to consider for V.P., and we spent some time assessing that list, we narrowed it to a smaller list of what was 17 candidates and began vetting those candidates based on the public records and from there narrowed it to a smaller list of what was five candidates, and at the end, the process was really quite straightforward. What I was looking for most critically were three characteristics–knowledge, judgment, and character. Knowledge, I think, Carly has an abundance.
She has had an extraordinary business career, she began as a secretary and rose [up] the corporate ladder to become the CEO of the largest technology company in the world and the first woman CEO of a Fortune 20 company in history and I wanted someone who understands how the economy works, to understand where jobs come from, that they don’t come from government. There are a lot of politicians, both Democrats and sadly on the Republican side, Donald Trump, who think that government is responsible for creating jobs, that Washington is the solution. I wanted someone who understands that the way you create jobs is taking the burden of Washington off of the private sector, off of small businesses, that jobs don’t come from lobbyists in Washington currying favor, they come from reducing taxes, reducing regulations on small businesses. And also knowledge of the world, knowledge and understanding of the threats facing the world. I think Carly has that in abundance.
HH: Senator Cruz.
HH: Donald Trump will have to name a vice presidential running mate before the convention. Do you believe that Carly Fiorina and that yet-to-be-named running mate ought to debate before the first ballot is taken?
TC: I think that would be very appropriate, but Donald Trump himself is not willing to debate. It’s now been 49 days since the last Republican debate, this unprecedented, and 49 days the Democrats have debated. Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders have shown enough respect to the voters to stand in front of them and answer questions and indeed, the Democrats are planning a second debate and yet Donald cannot defend his position. He was fine when there were 10 candidates onstage because that was enough air cover that he could stand there and just spout off and do a reality show, but this is now effectively a two-person debate and Indiana is voting on Tuesday, I think the people of Indiana deserve to see a debate and in particular on foreign policy. Hugh, you’ve spent a lot of time on foreign policy, on national security. Donald gave a speech this week that, number one, I think was written by Washington lobbyists, I’m not sure Donald knew anything that was in it, but number two, even when he expressed, I think, his foreign policy is profoundly naive and dangerous and we ought to have a debate getting into foreign policy explaining why he thinks America should withdraw from NATO, why he thinks that’s a good idea. Explaining why he thinks America should reduce our aid to Israel as he has called for, make Israel pay for it big time. Explaining he agrees with Hillary Clinton that we should leave the Iran nuclear deal in place and just enforce it rigorously, that’s just a profoundly naive view. We need to have a debate on that. But I will say, Hugh, you asked about Donald’s vice presidential nominee, if you look to the records, I think if Hillary were to name a vice presidential nominee, Donald Trump would awfully be a good candidate because they agree on issue after issue, whether it’s Israel, whether it’s Iran, whether it’s taxpayer-funding for Planned Parenthood, whether it’s allowing grown men to go into little girl’s bathrooms, Donald and Hillary agree over and over again, but yesterday we saw another very good choice for Donald Trump which would be John Boehner. Yesterday, John Boehner went out of his way to say some terribly unkind things about me, calling me “Lucifer in the flesh” which I’ll give him credit for imagery, and at the same time to praise Trump saying Trump was his texting buddy, his golfing buddy. And Hillary and John Boehner and Donald Trump–they are Washington, they are the system, so maybe the ticket we’re going to look at is Trump-Boehner. Here’s the Washington establishment on steroids.
HH: Senator Cruz, I found those comments by the former speaker to be despicable and I said so, Carly Fiorina agreed with me. I do, though, wonder, what is the root of that bitterness? He directs his criticism at you and the Freedom Caucus, not at the President of the United States, not at Nancy Pelosi, but at conservatives elected to do what you did?
TC: It’s because the big government Washington establishment, it’s one party, it’s not two. The people he praised in his interviews, he praised Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. Donald and Hillary are flipsides of the same coin, it’s the big government Washington establishment that have been breaking their promises for decades. The interesting thing about Boehner’s comments is that I don’t know the man. I’ve met him two or three times in my life. If I said 50 words to him in my entire life I would be astonished, and all of them have been empty pleasantries, so it’s not based on any interactions he and I have ever had because I don’t know the man, unlike Donald who’s texting buddies with him. I don’t have John Boehner’s cell phone and I’m not particularly interested in having the number. Now what he’s mad at is not anything I’ve ever said to him because I never had the opportunity to say anything to him. What he’s mad at is that in my time in the senate, every day I have tried to honor the commitments I’ve made to the people who have elected me, I promised the people who have elected me, if I’m elected, I will fight to repeal Obamacare, I’ll fight to stop the debt that’s bankrupting our kids and grandkids and I will fight to stop amnesty with all my heart. I did exactly that and the reason Boehner’s angry is that when I honor the commitments that I’ve made to the voters, that a lot of House conservatives, [including] the Freedom Caucus, they stood up and did the same thing and Boehner’s angry at the people. He’s angry at being held accountable. He lost his job as speaker because conservatives rose up and said, “Stop selling us down the river. Stop agreeing with Barack Obama and giving in to everything, fight on something.” And so Boehner’s rage is really a rage directed at the people and at being held accountable by the people and so when he calls me “Lucifer,” he’s really calling the American people that because he didn’t like the accountability, and it cost him his job.
HH: Senator, Ross Douthat in the New York Times wrote a very interesting column, I don’t know if you’ve had a chance to see it yesterday, but he points out 300 million Americans, 125 million will vote Donald Trump is one of about 10 million votes, I’m not sure what your vote total is, he’s won more votes than you. Nevertheless, Douthat argues that in this primary electorate, the Trump support seems unwilling to accept evidence that Donald Trump will not win in the fall, that they reject that evidence as bias, that he will put New York and Michigan into play and in fact, Corey Lewandowski yesterday said he would win Massachusetts, others say Pennsylvania. What do you make about those arguments and what do you make about Douthat’s assumption regarding their unwillingness to deal with what the media puts out as facts?
TC: I didn’t read that particular column, but I can tell you on the merits that the Trump campaign operates in a fact-free environment. They are utterly divorced from reality. The numbers are clear, if Trump is the nominee, Hillary wins and she wins by double-digits. He gets obliterated. Donald Trump right now is losing the state of Utah. Utah as you know, may well be the reddest state in the Union. If a Republican cannot carry the most conservative state in the Union, we’re looking at a “Walter-Mondale” that will blow out. I will note in contrast, that if I’m the nominee, we win. We carry key swing states, we carry independents, right now I’m beating Hillary Clinton with young people by double-digits, but let me tell you the even more broad point of even just electability–it is stunning how many issues Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton agree on. If you’re a social conservative, it should bother you that Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton both agree on taxpayer-funding for Planned Parenthood and both of them think Planned Parenthood is wonderful, that’s their word. It should bother you that Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton both agreed with Bill Clinton on banning many of the most popular firearms in America. As the president, I’m going to defend the 2nd amendment, not seek to ban guns.
HH: Senator Cruz, John Dickerson on this program earlier today–
HH: . . . and you’ll be on with him on Face the Nation this weekend, and I assume you’ll do all the Sunday shows, said the Carly Fiorina choice might be a good vice presidential choice, but your timing was off, you missed the opportunity to give delegates at the convention a permission moment to switch their support from Trump to Cruz. What do you make of that argument?
TC: Listen, the timing is certainly unusual, but this an unusual year. People typically wait until the convention after they’re the nominee to announce their vice presidential pick. In this year, I thought it was important to number one, to unite the party. Our party is deeply fractured, and I think Carly is an incredible leader and asset in uniting the party and bringing people together. We got to unite, number one, to win the nomination, but number two, to win the general, which is critical. We can’t keep doing what we’re doing, but secondly, I thought the people deserved a clear choice. If we end up in November, giving the people a choice between two rich, New York, big government liberals, both of whom support Planned Parenthood, neither one of which supports Israel, both of which want to keep the Iranian nuclear deal in place, both of which support raising taxes, the Obamacare individual mandate, and allowing those who are illegal aliens to become U.S. citizens although Donald would fly them back to their home country first, but then he said they come back in as citizens. If we nominate two Washington insiders like Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, I think the Republican Party will have failed the American people badly by not giving them any meaningful choice whatsoever. Either way, the country continues on the path that it is in. We’re crushed in debt, we don’t have economic growth, and radical Islamic terrorism will continue to rise.
HH: Last question, Senator.
TC: . . . And I will provide a clear contrast between Carly and me on the one side, running a positive, optimistic forward-looking conservative campaign based on real policy solutions to the problems acing this country versus Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton who are big government liberals, who are Washington insiders, both of whom have gotten rich buying and selling influence in Washington. I want to get Washington out of our lives, not keep growing it to make Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton richer than they are today.
HH: Last question, Senator Cruz, and we only have a minute. You know the constitutional argument against states requiring delegates be bound, that they ought to be interfering with the private associational aspects of the Constitution. Do you oppose rules changes in the rules that govern the convention in 2012 aimed to remedy that or other issues?
TC: I think we have rules in place, we need to honor the rules and follow the democratic process. I will note, this past week Donald had a good week, he won New York and the state adjoining New York. He won at home, but prior to that, three weeks in a row, I won five states in a row with big landslides: Utah, North Dakota, Wisconsin, Colorado, Wyoming.
HH: Senator, we’re out of time–
TC: Three million people voted.
HH: If the Rules Committee wants to change the rules, would you stand in their way?
TC: I don’t think we should be changing the rules, but let me encourage your listeners, go to CruzCarly.com, and if you’re in it, you’re in it, join us at a rally or town hall.
HH: Thank you, Senator Cruz.
End of Interview