Ted Cruz “salutes” Donald Trump

Several Republican presidential candidates have been critical of Donald Trump, but Ted Cruz is not among them. Earlier this week, in an appearance with Megyn Kelly, he praised Trump.

Cruz told Kelly, “I salute Donald Trump for focusing on the need to address illegal immigration. I think amnesty’s wrong, and I salute Donald Trump for focusing on it.” Cruz added, “I like Donald Trump. He’s bold, he’s brash.”

But wait! Cruz made his name as a crusader against Obamacare, which he views as a fundamental threat to American liberty. Yet, Trump has said we “must have universal healthcare” under a system that “looks a lot like Canada.” Such a system would be an even greater intrusion on our liberty than Obamacare.

Moreover, as Marc Thiessen has pointed out, Trump helped finance the Democratic takeover of Congress without which Obamacare never would have been enacted. And even after Congress passed Obamacare, Trump continued to contribute to congressional Democrats, including Harry Reid whose 2010 reelection campaign he supported.

Nor has Trump been a consistent voice on immigration. After Mitt Romney lost to Barack Obama in 2012, Trump opined that that Republicans will continue to lose elections if they came across as mean-spirited and unwelcoming to people of color. Now, candidate Trump is bad-mouthing illegal immigrants with comments such this:

When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re sending people that have lots of problems. And they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs, they’re bringing crime, they’re rapists, and some, I assume, are good people.

Trump, then, isn’t “bold” at all. Rather, he takes whatever position he thinks will serve his interests at a particular time.

Cruz explained to Kelly that he’s “not going to engage in the media’s game of throwing rocks and attacking other Republicans.” Fine. But that doesn’t mean he should salute an obvious fraud like Donald Trump.

Why is Cruz saluting him? Opportunism. He believes, as I do, that Trump’s support will evaporate once Republicans learn of his liberal, pro-Democrat history. Cruz wants to be the candidate who gains the bulk of Trump’s support.

Moreover, Cruz is determined never to let a Republican contender get to the right of him on any issue. That’s why he stood with Rand Paul during the Kentucky Senator’s filibuster which was premised on the fear that the U.S. government will attack Americans while they type emails in the nation’s outdoor cafes.

For that matter, it’s why Cruz pushed for the partial government shutdown, a move that was never going to stop Obamacare, but was sure to elevate the Senator into preeminent status among opponents of Obama’s signature domestic program.

Cruz, I’ve been reliably informed, has a low regard for Paul, and surely his assessment of Trump is no more flattering. The Texas Senator is far too intelligent to view either rival as presidential material and too genuinely conservative not to hold the formerly liberal Trump in contempt.

Again, it’s fine if Cruz wishes to keep these opinions to himself. But he does conservatives a disservice by sucking up to Trump.

The tycoon isn’t one of us, and Cruz shouldn’t pretend otherwise.