I’m a huge fan of Ted Cruz and I believe that pretty much everything he’s said about Trump is true. In the current mud-slinging fight between Cruz and Rubio, which is diminishing both and distracting from the threat of Trump, the issues are somewhat less clear.
A clip of Ted Cruz attacking Marco Rubio is making the rounds on twitter (HT Phil Kerpen). In it, Cruz made the following claim, during the course of explaining how he was not going to respond to Trump’s unhinged tirade about him earlier today:
Cruz: I will continue pointing out the truth about records. And so when you look at the words that came out of their mouth, there is a reason that the National Organization of Marriage has endorsed me in this campaign and has said it cannot support Donald Trump or Marco Rubio because both of them are unwilling to defend traditional marriage.
Now, it is true that the National Organization for Marriage has endorsed Ted Cruz. And it is likewise true that they had some harsh words for Donald Trump. Some conservatives on Twitter have been circulating the initial statement from the National Organization for Marriage, which appears to contradict what Cruz said. Here is what the NOM said at the time of their decision (in December of 2015):
“The decision to endorse in the Republican primary race was a very difficult one,” Brown said. “There are many tremendous candidates remaining who have made support for marriage a pillar of their careers in public service, including Sen. Rick Santorum, Gov. Mike Huckabee, Dr. Ben Carson and Sen. Marco Rubio. We realize that our endorsement of Sen. Cruz will be very disappointing to them. Should any of these candidates emerge as the Republican nominee we would enthusiastically support them.”
This is completely different from what they said about Trump:
“There is a real danger that conservatives will split the vote allowing someone like Donald Trump to emerge from the crowded field, which would be disastrous,” Brown said.
That certainly sounds like something completely different from what Cruz said. In fact, Kerpen characterizes it exactly that way:
Wow that’s pretty bad:
Cruz says NOM picked me because Trump/Rubio bad.
NOM says we picked Cruz to stop Trump but Rubio good too. @Rikki5582
— Phil Kerpen (@kerpen) February 15, 2016
Ehh, not so fast. Cruz’s statement might not be an accurate representation of Brown’s current thinking on the matter, but neither did he invent it out of thin air.
I emailed the Cruz campaign for comment, and they pointed me to a Breitbart article from June that seems to back what Cruz was saying, that NOM said they could not support Rubio:
“We need bold leadership from the next President to fight back against an imperial judiciary,” Brown said in an email to Breitbart News.
Senator Rubio is merely giving lip service when he says he supports traditional marriage, if he can’t even get behind a constitutional amendment that allows the People to decide the issue. Walker, Santorum, Jindal, Huckabee, and Perry have all made strong commitments at this critical time. Rubio and Bush, on the other hand, are simply caving. Period. Right now I can’t see conservatives supporting either.
There apparently is an interview here, also from June, in which Brown says many of the same things.
So definitely Brown at some point said what Cruz was referencing here; he didn’t invent it out of thin air. It does seem, however, that Brown’s subsequent statement in December indicates that he had already factored his prior remarks (from June) on Rubio into his thinking and while it doubtless played a role in the organization endorsing Cruz, he still seems to be saying that the organization could support Rubio if he were the nominee (unlike Trump).
So yes, the NOM seems to now be saying that they would support Rubio if he were the nominee, but Cruz didn’t just make up the idea that they once said they could not support Rubio. Cruz is quoting Brown accurately, even if there’s evidence that his quote might no longer represent Brown’s thoughts on Rubio.