Ted Cruz Says He Can Woo Donald Trump’s Supporters
"If it ends up, as I think probably will happen, at a contested convention that we earn a majority, it's going to be critically important then to keep the Donald Trump supporters energized and engaged," the Texas senator told Mark Halperin and John Heilemann in an interview for Bloomberg Television's With All Due Respect.
Cruz posited that one of the reasons he's "the last man standing" against the front-runner is that he's "the only candidate who's competed effectively" for the blue-collar workers who form the heart of Trump's base.
"The issues that energize and excite the Trump voters—illegal immigration, securing the border, keeping this country safe and bringing jobs back to America—bringing them back from China, back from Mexico—those issues are right at the heart of our campaign," he said. "So I believe if I earn a majority of the delegates in Cleveland, that we are going to be able to continue to energize and unite those Trump supporters and get them to come out and vote in November."
Although Trump has dominated in most contests among voters who haven't graduated from college, Cruz won those voters in Wisconsin, the most recent primary.
Trump has warned of "riots" and suggested his supporters will abandon the GOP en masse if he's blocked from the nomination at the July convention. Cruz acknowledged that "there's no doubt at a contested convention that's something you naturally worry about—is having divisions in the party."
At the interview in Cicero, New York, Cruz also pointed out an "encouraging" sign for his ability to bring together Republicans, leaders and rank-and-file voters alike.
"Look at the 17 Republican candidates who started this race," Cruz said. "Five of them are supporting my campaign now. We've been endorsed by Rick Perry, by Lindsey Graham, by Jeb Bush, by Scott Walker, by Carly Fiorina. That really is indicative of the Republican Party uniting."
Cruz also said his campaign is "in the process of examining potential vice presidential nominees," mentioning the original GOP field as evidence of an "abundance of good choices" for the position.
The socially conservative candidate declined to offer his opinion on Bruce Springsteen's decision to cancel a concert in North Carolina due to a state law—known as the "bathroom law"—that the musician said "attacks the rights of LGBT" Americans.
"Bruce and everyone else has a free speech right," Cruz said, arguing that the people of North Carolina also have a right to pass laws that reflect their values. "I do think a lot of Hollywood and entertainment latches on to whatever is politically correct at a given moment," he said. "He's entitled to be a liberal, and most rock and rollers, most of Hollywood, they’re liberals. That's their entire culture."
The full interview is set to air Friday at 5:00 p.m. Eastern time on Bloomberg TV's With All Due Respect.