Take away the podium bearing the Republican nominee’s surname, and one would never know that Texas Sen. Ted Cruz was campaigning on behalf of Donald Trump Thursday.
Cruz gripped the wooden podium Thursday afternoon to introduce a man he called his “friend.” His glowing introduction, rife with praise and conservative adulation, seemed fitting for an introduction for the presidential nominee — not his running mate.
In introducing Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, Cruz said:
He’s a good man. He loves this country. He’s someone who understands the importance of strong principled conservatives on the Supreme Court who will be faithful to the Constitution and who will protect the Bill of Rights. He is someone who today I call my friend. And I very much look forward to calling him Mr. Vice President. And with that, I give you the next vice president of the United States, Gov. Mike Pence.
A calculated Cruz singled out President Barack Obama and Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton as he blamed the “shady” pair for failures with the Affordable Care Act and securing the country from radical Islamic terrorism — all without mentioning Trump.
“This corruption has got to end,” Cruz said to cheers as he spoke of Clinton’s email controversy.
Thursday’s rally in Prole, Iowa, was Cruz’s first time on the campaign trail for the presidential nominee since he suspended his own White House bid. He is also expected to appear at a rally later Thursday afternoon in Michigan.
Cruz tried to dispel rumors of division within the Republican Party as he talked to reporters following the rally, pointing at the large plane with Trump's name on it behind him.
"I'm here to campaign for Donald Trump," he said, adding that he has already cast his vote for Trump.
And before he introduced Pence, Cruz encouraged Iowans to turn out to vote next week, especially to re-elect Sen. Chuck Grassley (R).
“You know, in the last election, Barack Obama won the state of Iowa. Let me tell you right now, thanks to the men and women here and across this state, Hillary Clinton ain’t winning Iowa,” Cruz said, adding, “Together, we’re going to keep Republican control of the Senate, and we’re going to defeat Hillary Clinton in this presidential election.”
The relationship between Cruz and Trump was tumultuous at best as the two man vied tooth-and-nail for the GOP nod. In the end, Trump came out victorious, taking shots at Cruz’s father and wife along the way.
Despite signing a pledge that said he would support the party's nominee, Cruz didn’t back Trump right away. And at the Republican National Convention in July, Cruz famously took up a prime time slot to tout conservative principles — all while declining to mention the man who the convention was convened for.
Cruz eventually endorsed Trump in September, citing in a lengthy Facebook post the reasons why he believes Clinton to be “wholly unacceptable” for the office of the presidency.
Cruz’s spokeswoman did not respond to a request for comment from TheBlaze regarding his campaigning for Trump.