Republican presidential hopeful Ted Cruz came under fire Thursday night, being accused by his 2016 rivals of not being truthful about his former position on immigration.
The Texas senator was first grilled by moderator Megyn Kelly on the issue. She played video of Cruz saying he was in favor of passing immigration reform in 2013 if a pathway to citizenship was removed by way of an amendment he had proposed. Such reform would have still allowed for legalizing individuals who had not lawfully entered the U.S.
“Was that all an act?” Kelly asked after playing multiple video clips of Cruz. “It was pretty convincing.”
Cruz said that his amendment only removed a pathway to citizenship and his support for it did not mean he endorsed everything else in the so-called Gang of Eight amnesty bill.
Kelly asked Rand Paul if he bought the argument.
“I saw Ted Cruz say if we take citizenship off the table and then the bill will pass and I’m for the bill. The bill would involve legalization,” Paul said. “He can’t have it both ways.”
“But what is particularly insulting though is he is the king of saying you are for amnesty. Everybody is for amnesty except for Ted Cruz. But it is a falseness and that is an authenticity problem,” Paul added. “That everybody he knows is not as perfect as him because we are all for amnesty … so was Ted, but now he says it wasn’t so. That is not true.”
Cruz responded by noting that Marco Rubio was part of the Gang of Eight and supported a pathway to citizenship for those in the U.S. illegally, while he did not.
“This is the lie that Ted’s campaign is built on and Rand touched upon it,” Rubio countered. “That he’s the most conservative guy and everybody else is a RINO. The truth is Ted, throughout this campaign you’ve been willing to say or do anything to get votes.”
Rubio argued that Cruz worked on President George W. Bush’s campaign and helped craft his immigration policy.
In his response, Cruz said that Rubio promised voters before being elected to the U.S. Senate to oppose amnesty, but ended up supporting it in Washington.
“Marco made the choice to go the direction of major donors … I honored my commitments,” Cruz said.
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