Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) called into doubt whether Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) can be trusted Friday morning, saying the immigration hard-liner is dishonestly portraying his role in the 2013 Senate battle over illegal immigration.
Cruz and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) have been clashing on the issue since Tuesday night's debate — when Rubio characterized a Cruz amendment to the 2013 immigration legislation as supporting "amnesty." Cruz fired back, saying Rubio is trying to "muddy the waters" by mischaracterizing his position.
But Rand Paul, who also played a role in that 2013 battle, told reporters today that Cruz is being "disingenuous" when he argues that his amendment was supposed to be a "poison pill" to delay the legislation as a whole.
“Without question both Rubio and Cruz have been for amnesty, so it’s kind of a silly debate," the Kentucky senator said. "The amendment that Cruz put forward at the time — no one understood it to be a poison pill, it was not advocated or put forward as a poison pill, it was an advocacy for legalization and normalization.”
This piece of the immigration debate revolves around what to do with the 11 million immigrants who are already in the United States illegally. On Tuesday, Rubio pressed Cruz to say whether he'd rule out the option of eventual legalization of illegal immigrants already here, and Cruz's response was that he does not intend to favor legalization. Some say the precise language leaves him wiggle room to eventually change his mind.
“I think Cruz is being disingenuous and not honestly presenting the facts when he says that he was not for legalization: He’s wanted to have it both ways," Paul said. "His amendment, I think, was put straight forward — and I don’t think there’s any contemporaneous evidence that he was putting forward something that he didn’t really believe in."
Cruz's handling of the back-and-forth with Rubio should give voters pause about whether Cruz can be trusted, Paul claimed.
"It stretches credulity, and I think it also makes you wonder about exactly whether or not we can take him at face value on what he presents, if he’s willing to reconstruct a history that’s not really the same as what happened," the Republican presidential candidate added.