Elections

Cruz Privately Criticizes Trump, Carson

Republican presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas walks across the stage to answers question from members of audience at the Heritage Foundation in Washington, Thursday, Dec. 10, 2015.
Republican presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas walks across the stage to answers question from members of audience at the Heritage Foundation in Washington, Thursday, Dec. 10, 2015. AP

After weeks of refusing to criticize GOP rivals Donald Trump and Ben Carson, presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz at a private New York event Wednesday reportedly questioned either one’s fitness to be commander in chief.

Asked about the New York Times report, Cruz said after a speech at the Heritage Foundation Thursday morning that he would not address the specifics of “what I may or may not have said at a private fundraiser.”

The Texas senator then went on to say: “In the course of a Presidential election, the voters are going to make a decision about every candidate. And ultimately the decision is, who has the right judgment and the right experience to serve as commander in chief? Every one of us who is running is being assessed by the voters under that metric, and that is exactly why we have a democratic election to make that determination.”

Cruz, who has moved up in some polls behind frontrunner Trump, may be concerned about the impact of the Times’ report. Trump has famously turned on other GOP candidates who have criticized him.

The Cruz campaign issued a press release in response to what it labeled the “misleading” Times’ story this afternoon with the statement that Cruz gave at Heritage about voters deciding who had the right judgment to be president.

Here is what the NYT reported as Cruz having said at the fundraiser:

“You look at Paris, you look at San Bernardino, it's given a seriousness to this race, that people are looking for: Who is prepared to be a commander in chief? Who understands the threats we face?" Cruz was quoted in the New York Times as having said by two sources. "Who am I comfortable having their finger on the button? Now that's a question of strength, but it's also a question of judgment. And I think that is a question that is a challenging question for both of them."

He also said that he did not think either Trump, a billionaire developer, or Carson, a retired neurosurgeon, would be elected president.

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