Ted Cruz has been in a bitter back-and-forth with Marco Rubio over the issue of immigration for months, most recently onstage at Tuesday’s Republican debate. But in an interview with Fox News anchor Bret Baier, Cruz faced one foe he just wasn’t ready for: himself.
Fox News’ Bret Baier grilled the 2016 GOP presidential candidate on confusing claims he made while sparring with opponent Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) during Tuesday’s Republican debate in Las Vegas.
In a contentious exchange on immigration, Rubio accused Cruz of being in favor of granting legal status to undocumented immigrants, citing an amendment Cruz proposed to the 2013 Senate immigration reform bill.
Cruz and his campaign have insisted that the amendment was meant to be a “poison pill” to undermine the bill, a claim he repeated this week.
“I have never supported legalization, and I do not intend to support legalization,” Cruz said during the debate.
But when he introduced the amendment, Cruz said it was meant to be a compromise, offering legal status to undocumented immigrants, but without a pathway to citizenship.
“I would urge people of good faith on both sides of the aisle if the objective is to pass common sense immigration reform that secures the borders, that improves legal immigration and that allows those who are here illegally to come in out of the shadows,” Cruz said in 2013. “I believe if this amendment were to pass, the chances of this bill passing into law would increase dramatically.”
Baier pressed Cruz on the discrepancy on Wednesday.
“It sounds like you wanted the bill to pass,” Baier told Cruz.
“Of course I wanted the bill to pass,” Cruz said, before quickly clarifying, “my amendment to pass.”
“You said the bill,” Baier interjected.
A dumbfounded Cruz tried to squirm his way out by arguing that his end goal was to “defeat Marco Rubio’s amnesty” with his amendment, but Baier came prepared with receipts for the candidate.
“The problem, though, is that at the time you were telling people like Byron York with the Washington Examiner that this was not a poison pill,” Baier pushed. “You told him, ‘My objective was not to kill immigration reform.’ You said you wanted it to pass at the time.”
“Looking back at what you said then and what you’re saying now, which one should people believe?”
The interaction is a must-watch, but go make yourself some popcorn first.