February 28th, 2016
12:02 PM ET

Cruz: “I will support the Republican nominee, period, the end."

Today on CNN’s State of the Union, Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX), GOP presidential candidate, joined anchor, Jake Tapper to discuss Super Tuesday and the rest of the 2016 presidential election.

 

For more information, see http://cnnpressroom.blogs.cnn.com/. Also, text highlights and a transcript of the discussion are below.

 

MANDATORY CREDIT: CNN’s “State of the Union”

 


Contacts: Lauren Pratapas — Lauren.Pratapas@turner.com; 202.465.6666; Zachary Lilly – Zachary.Lilly@turner.com; Brooke Lorenz- Brooke.Lorenz@turner.com

 

 

TEXT HIGHLIGHTS

 

Cruz on supporting whoever the Republican nominee is: “I will support the Republican nominee, period, the end… But I will tell you this.  Listen, I think, if we nominate Donald, Hillary probably beats him.  Not only does she get to attack him on a whole host of issues where he agrees with her, but, you know, he's described Hillary Clinton as one of the best secretaries of state in history… And I think we need a candidate who can beat Hillary.  And I will say this beyond that, Jake.  Listen, if Donald becomes president, who the heck knows what he would do?  Even Donald doesn't know what he would do.  And I think the challenges facing this country, they're too grave to roll the dice and risk losing the Supreme Court for a generation, risk yet more economic stagnation, and risk, on foreign policy, allowing radical Islamic terrorism to continue to rise and threaten America.”

 

Cruz on Super Tuesday: “Oh, listen, we are very strong in Texas, and we are running neck and neck with Donald in a number of the Super Tuesday states. It really depends on turnout.  And so, if you're in one of the Super Tuesday states, and you share the concerns of so many Americans that these are serious times and Donald Trump is not the right candidate, then I ask you to come together behind our campaign, even if you like other candidates. Listen, there are good people in this race who I like and respect.  But our campaign is the only one in a position to beat Donald Trump on Super Tuesday.  And if you want to stop this - this Trump train, the only way to do so is to beat him on Super Tuesday. So, I'm encouraged that we're seeing conservatives coming together, but I think Super Tuesday is going to be critical in that regard.”

FULL TRANSCRIPT

THIS IS A RUSH FDCH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: And Senator Ted Cruz joins me now.

 

Senator, thanks for joining us.

 

SENATOR TED CRUZ (R-TX) GOP PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  Good morning, Jake.  Good to be with you.

 

TAPPER:  So, Governor Chris Christie endorsed Donald Trump this week.  You have said this will hurt Marco Rubio, in your view.

 

A source close to Christie told me that one of the main reasons for Christie's endorsement was Christie sensed that Trump is the inevitable nominee and it's time for the party to rally behind him.

 

Your response.

 

CRUZ:  Well, listen, that's really what this election is about.

 

It's a choice.  And I think Super Tuesday is going to be the most important day in the entire primary election.  You know, we have seen now that there's only one candidate that has beaten Donald Trump and that can beat Donald Trump.

 

And 65 percent of the primary voters recognize that Donald Trump is not the best candidate to go head to head with Hillary, that he agrees with Hillary on too many issues, whether it is supporting partial-birth abortion and Planned Parenthood, whether it is, as Donald said on the debate last week, that he believes that he will stay neutral between Israel and the Palestinians.

 

TAPPER:  Mm-hmm.

 

CRUZ:  Listen, if I'm president, I don't intend to be neutral.  America will stand unapologetically with Israel.

 

Or whether it is Donald's longtime support of expanding Obamacare into Bernie Sanders-style socialized medicine, putting the government in charge of your health care, putting government bureaucrats in a position to ration your care, especially that of seniors.

 

All of those are issues that make Donald vulnerable to Hillary.  And I think what we're going to see and what I hope we will see on Super Tuesday is those 65 percent of Republicans that don't think Donald can beat Hillary will continue to unite behind our campaign, because we're the only one that has beaten him and that can beat him.

 

TAPPER:  The hashtag #neverTrump exploded on Twitter this weekend, Republicans saying they will not vote for Donald Trump.  Marco Rubio even tweeted it.

 

You have said that electing Donald Trump to the presidency would be a grave mistake.  Just for the record, if Trump is the nominee, will you support him?

 

CRUZ:  I will support the Republican nominee, period, the end.

 

TAPPER:  OK.

 

CRUZ:  But I will tell you this.  Listen, I think, if we nominate Donald, Hillary probably beats him.  Not only does she get to attack him on a whole host of issues where he agrees with her, but, you know, he's described Hillary Clinton as one of the best secretaries of state in history.

 

You know, one of the big scandals with Hillary, I think even bigger than e-mails, is this Clinton Foundation that was essentially a slush fund, it appears, for foreign governments and foreign individuals and corporations to give six- and seven-figure checks to the Clintons while she was secretary of state.

 

Any Republican needs to be able to make that case.  Donald can't, because she will turn to Donald and laugh at him at a debate and say, but, Donald, you gave $100,000 to the Clinton Foundation.  How could you possibly be complaining?

 

And I think we need a candidate who can beat Hillary.  And I will say this beyond that, Jake.  Listen, if Donald becomes president, who the heck knows what he would do?  Even Donald doesn't know what he would do.  And I think the challenges facing this country, they're too grave to roll the dice and risk losing the Supreme Court for a generation, risk yet more economic stagnation, and risk, on foreign policy, allowing radical Islamic terrorism to continue to rise and threaten America.

 

TAPPER:  But, just for the record, even though you think all of that about Donald Trump, you still would support him for the presidency if he gets the nomination?

 

CRUZ:  I - I will support the Republican nominee, but I'm working very hard, and I intend for that Republican nominee to be me.

 

TAPPER:  All right, Super Tuesday just two days away, as you noted.

 

You're favored to win in your home state of Texas.  There are 11 states voting that day.  Beyond Texas, are there any other states you think are must-wins?

 

CRUZ:  Oh, listen, we are very strong in Texas, and we are running neck and neck with Donald in a number of the Super Tuesday states.

 

It really depends on turnout.  And so, if you're in one of the Super Tuesday states, and you share the concerns of so many Americans that these are serious times and Donald Trump is not the right candidate, then I ask you to come together behind our campaign, even if you like other candidates.

 

Listen, there are good people in this race who I like and respect.  But our campaign is the only one in a position to beat Donald Trump on Super Tuesday.  And if you want to stop this - this Trump train, the only way to do so is to beat him on Super Tuesday.

 

So, I'm encouraged that we're seeing conservatives coming together, but I think Super Tuesday is going to be critical in that regard.

 

TAPPER:  All right.  Senator Ted Cruz, thank you very much.

 

 

###END INTERVIEW###

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