One of the fiercest 2016 rivals to former President Donald Trump is getting behind him, declaring the Republican presidential primary over in an endorsement that shook party politics.
Appearing on Sean Hannity’s Fox News show Tuesday night, U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) declared his full-throated support for Trump following his rout at the Iowa caucuses, the site where Cruz edged Trump eight years ago in his own bid for the presidency.
“I am proud to endorse Donald Trump for President of the United States,” Cruz told the host. “I look forward to supporting him enthusiastically.”
The results of the first contest were so lopsided, he said, that the party’s conservative base already knows who it wants to take on President Joe Biden in November.
“[Iowa] was a dominating victory for Donald Trump: I’ve got to say, there’s no place like the Iowa caucuses. I know it intimately. The men and women of Iowa, they take their responsibility incredibly seriously. They scrutinize the candidates,” Cruz said.
“It’s an amazing process, and I’m a big believer in letting democracy play out. Well, last night it played out, and I got to say Trump’s victory was across the board… Congratulations to President Trump on that dominating victory,” Cruz said. “And at this point, I believe this race is over.”
President Trump earned 51% of the vote Monday night and 98 of the state’s 99 counties, head and shoulders above Ron DeSantis, who finished in second place with 21.2% and barely edged out Nikki Haley, who was quickly rising and nearly overtook him despite a super PAC spending millions of dollars on his behalf. Vivek Ramaswamy and former Asa Hutchinson, who finished fourth and sixth respectively, suspended their campaigns following the results.
“I’m a big believer we need to let the process play out: It did. And the results last night: 51% [of the vote, which included] 98 counties – that’s compelling. And at this point, I think the contrast needs to be on substance and policy and records [versus Biden],” Cruz said.
The Texas Republican is facing his own formidable challenger in Democratic Rep. Colin Allred (D-TX), a rising star in his party since his first election in 2018. Cook Political Report ranks the race as a likely Republican victory, but Cruz believes having Trump lead the GOP ticket will push him over the top in November.
“If you are a left-wing Democrat, after Donald Trump, there’s nobody in the country you want to beat more than me. And Chuck Schumer has made clear I am his number one target in the country,” Cruz continued. “The Democrats are going to spend $100 million this year trying to beat me and trying to flip Texas blue. Now, that ain’t going to happen.”
Earlier this week President Trump notched another huge Senate endorsement from Florida’s Marco Rubio (R-FL), adding to his extensive list of current and former members of Congress who have lined up behind his second bid for the White House.