Utah Republican Sen. Mike Lee endorsed Texas Sen. Ted Cruz for president Thursday, as first reported by Buzzfeed News.
“Ted Cruz has been a tireless defender of the Constitution and the founding principles that have made this the greatest country the world has ever known,” Lee said in a statement. “Ted is a leader with a proven record of fighting for our conservative values and for the issues that matter most to Americans. He has shown time and again that he is willing to stand up to Washington. Ted is an authentic fighter who will ensure that poverty is temporary instead of tolerable, that hardworking families will have real opportunities to rise and he will put an end to the special perks and privileges for the wealthy and well-connected. America deserves a president who is principled, positive and proven – I believe that describes Ted Cruz and why I am proud to endorse him for President of the United States.”
“I couldn’t be more humbled by Mike’s endorsement,” Cruz said in a statement. “He has been a tremendous friend and I am deeply honored by his support. No one has fought harder to restore the rule of law, end cronyism, and level the playing field for millions of Americans. Mike is a brilliant policy entrepreneur who has been a driving force in promoting conservative reforms to lift people out of poverty, make education more affordable, and fix our tax system. I am privileged to have his support and look forward to having his help coalescing conservatives around our campaign.”
Lee endorsed Cruz Thursday afternoon in Coral Gables, Florida.
Lee has remained out of the fray for most of the Republican presidential primary as three of his Republican friends in the Senate — Cruz, Sen. Rand Paul (Ky.) and Sen. Marco Rubio (Fla.) — sought their party’s nomination. Lee has campaigned on behalf of both Cruz and Rubio in recent months.
“I am still very good friends with both of them,” Lee told TheBlaze in February.
The endorsement underscores Cruz’s unpopularity among his colleagues — Lee’s endorsement is Cruz’s first from the Senate since he announced his candidacy last March.
This post has been updated to include statements from Lee and Cruz.