Dan Proft's exclusive interview with Presidential Candidate, Senator Ted Cruz.
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Dan Proft: So we had the opportunity to have your father on the show last week, and what a woo he is, but one of the things that he said that I want to get your take on – by the way, actually, we have suggested to him after talking to him for a few minutes, that perhaps the ticket should be Cruz and Cruz in the general election, and he was concerned with the 12th Amendment, which of course you’re familiar with; I assured him that if it was a Cruz – Cruz ticket in the general, then you could dispense with Texas’ electoral votes because you’d win by such a big margin. Ted Cruz: I will say, my dad is someone who will speak from the heart, and when you’ve seen freedom taken away firsthand like my dad has seen, it’s very real and it’s very personal to him, and it’s one of the real blessing, being the son of an immigrant who fled oppression in Cuba, that it makes you realize that our freedom is fragile and it’s really precious. Dan Proft: Now, one of the things that he said about you is that Ted learned from his parents to be a servant-leader. It seems to me in the debate on Thursday night, you sort of made mention to that implicitly when you talked about Donald Trump asking for people to pledge allegiance to him, and he had it reversed that this is a job audition where the President of the United States is a servant to the people, and I wonder of you could expand upon what your dad said, and that moment in the debate where you suggested Donald Trump had it reversed. Ted Cruz: Our rights don’t come from government, they come from God almighty, and sovereignty doesn’t reside in the ruler, but rather sovereignty resides in ‘we, the people’, and the Constitutions serves, as Jefferson put it, ‘chain to bind the mischief of government’, and I think there had been far too many political leaders in Washington, both Democrats and Republicans, who lose sight of that; who believe that they are a ruling class; that’s much of the corruption we’ve seen that has resulted 19 trillion in debt, has resulted in the special interest getting fat at the people’s extent. And I believe we need a leader who recognizes that he works for the people. I approach this every day, asking for your support, working to earn your support, because we need a president who is fighting for the hard working tax payers each and every day rather than the entrenched interest in Washington. Dan Proft: One of the other in theory entertaining moments of the debate on Thursday night was your close, where you talked about the humble beginnings of a Ted Cruz and a Marco Rubio, and a John Kasich, and maybe not so much Donald Trump. It was a little bit of a Yakov Smirnoff what a country kind of close, but I wonder what you were trying to do there reminding the electorate about where you and Kasich and Rubio came from, as compared to Trump. Ted Cruz: Well, look, it is a remarkable thing that you’ve got three of the four people on the stage come from very humble beginnings; as I note it, there was the son of a bartender, the son of mailman, or in my case, the son of a dishwasher, and most of the countries on Earth, that would never be the case. Most of the countries on Earth, any potential leader of the country would have been born in the wealth and power of the aristocracy, and that’s simply the way most of the world works, and didn’t mean that as a ding particularly on Donald Trump; I was more making a quip that I hoped to get a laugh, but was also making the point about the unbelievable opportunity America provides, that anyone starting with nothing can do anything, and that really is unique in the world. Dan Proft: On the political front, were you disappointed at all that Dr. Ben Carson decided to fall in with Donald Trump instead of with you, particularly given your similar faith traditions in terms of appeal to evangelical voters? Ted Cruz: Sure, of course I was disappointed, and then Ben Carson is a good man, but everyone’s got to make their own decisions and their own judgments, and I suppose everyone makes those decisions for different reasons. What my focus really is, is on energizing and mobilizing conservatives, and on unifying Republicans. You mentioned at the outset of the show that at this point become effectively a two man race. There are some 65-70% of Republicans who recognize Donald Trump as not the best candidate to go head to head with Hilary Clinton; that if we nominate Donald Trump, Hilary wins; that she just wallops him in a general election, and if Hilary wins, we lose the Supreme Court for a generation, we lost the Bill of Rights, our kids are buried in debt for yet four more years, and jobs and economic opportunity stays illusive and hard to achieve, and so for those 65-70% of Republicans who recognize Donald Trump is not the best nominee, what we’re seeing is more and more uniting behind our campaign, because our campaign is the only campaign that has beaten Donald repeatedly; we beat him now 8 separate times in 8 states all over the country, and we’re the only campaign that can beat him; the other candidates have no mathematical possibility of becoming the Republican nominee, and I’ll tell you, Illinois in particular is very much a battle ground. Right now, today, Illinois is neck in neck between Donald Trump and me, and so you don’t want to see Donald Trump as the nominee. If you don’t want to see Hillary Clinton win the general election then I ask you to stand with us – even if you have been supporting someone else – the only way now to beat Donald Trump is for us to stand united, so I ask you to stand with us, and that is happening more and more all over the country. Dan Proft: Now, with respect to Donald Trump, do you think it is important to make the distinction between Donald Trump the candidate, and Donald Trump’s supporters, kind of Donald Trump the movement, if you will? Because if you are the nominee, regardless what happens on Tuesday, if you are the nominee and you run the table after Tuesday, when it’s all mano y mano race ostensibly, that you’re going to need those Trump voters that have come out and really jumped the Republican Primary turnout to record levels. Ted Cruz: Absolutely, and I’ve said from the beginning that I’ve brought a lot of people into the process, and that is good and beneficial, and the people who are supporting Donald, I understand why they are; they’re ticked off, they’re ticked off at Washington, they’re ticked off at politicians who keep lying to them, who keep making promises and doing the exact opposite of what they say when they go to Washington. And they’re fed up with the corruption of Washington – the bipartisan corruption – I agree with every bit of that sediment, and you’d better believe that I want every one of those voters showing up in November so that we can finally change the direction of this country, and now what I think a lot of those Trump supporters are realizing when they look at his record more closely is that if you’re fed up with the corruption in Washington, the answer is not to support Donald Trump, someone who has been enmeshed in that bipartisan corruption for 40 years; that Donald Trump is the system, Donald Trump is Washington, and big business, and if you’re fed up with that, the answer I believe is to go with the candidate who has demonstrated over and over again that he will and he has stood up not just to Democrats but to leaders in our own party. That’s what it’s going to take to stop the corruption – is a president who recognizes he works for the American people, for the hardworking taxpayer, not the Washington’s special interest, that Donald has been part of for the last 40 years supporting liberal democrats, and supporting establishment republicans; instead, we need a president that doesn’t stand for Washington, but stands with the American people. Dan Proft: One of the things that seems to me makes you a little bit different than the candidates in this field, past and present, is your willingness to talk about values. It’s funny to me, in Chicago here, you think New York values are bad. We listen to Rahm Emanuel, as I call him, tiny dancer, talk about Chicago values all the time. It seems like the left is very willing to talk about values – whatever their values are – and sometimes we, as conservatives, are afraid to speak in the vernacular of values in the public arena. Your nod, is it a recognition that maybe people out there are looking for something transcendental, maybe the most important thing to them isn’t just your marginal tax rate, it’s about kind of what binds us together as a people. Ted Cruz: I think that’s exactly right. That’s who we are as Americans, and one of the greatest lies that the media tries to sell is they try to tell conservatives that America doesn’t share our values; that America has become this left wing progressive utopia; and that’s just fundamentally false. This country is and remains a federal country. We remain a country that was built on free market principles, on constitutional liberties, and on Judeo-Christian values; that is what built America into the greatest country in the history of the world. Now the media and Hollywood and the political left tries to do everything they can to convince the American people we should be afraid of our values. We should be afraid to stand and defend lives, we should be afraid to defend marriage or religious liberty, and I don’t think that’s right. I think we can recognize that every life is a precious gift from God, and that every human being has constitutional rights that the government should be protecting, rather than violating, and I think those are common sense values that resonate across the heartland. Resonate across the state of Illinois, and resonate all across the country. Dan Proft: I want to get your response to one of the critiques, what we hear from callers supporting Donald Trump and other candidates from this show is, ‘Well, one of the critiques of Ted Cruz is he doesn’t get along with his colleagues, so is he going to get anything done?’ I had the opportunity to speak with Jim DeMint, President of the Heritage Foundation and former US Senator, the other day, and he made the point that when he was in the Senate, he didn’t always get along with leadership very much either because he wanted the Republican Party to stand for conservative values and follow principles and policies that flow from those values, and sometimes the leadership didn’t want to chart that course. It seems to me there’s a fundamental misunderstanding of politics that a lot of people in our movement have, and I wonder if you’d comment, and that is about likeability all the time, rather than the hard work of aligning interests, of building coalitions around different issues, and the coalitions maybe different with respect to different parts of a policy agenda; one is trying to pursue, but it’s not being Mr. Congeniality, or Mr. Popularity, it’s about aligning interests. Ted Cruz: Well, that’s right, but it’s even stronger than that, and Jim DeMint is a good example. Jim is a very good friend of mine, and he was an extraordinary senator, but when he was serving in the senate, he was despised; especially by leadership, they despised him. And it’s not that Jim is an unpleasant man – in fact he’s a very soft-spoken principled individual – but you have to remember, Washington, the career politicians in both parties, they have been sticking it to the American people year after year after year. It’s why we’re so angry, because they don’t keep their word and they don’t intend to keep their word. And what makes you ‘unlikeable’ in Washington is if you actually keep your word to the men and women who elected you. What Jim DeMint did and what I have done was simply go there and say ‘I’m going to do exactly what I said I would do’. I told, in my case, the people of Texas, ‘I’m going to fight with every breath in my body to stop the disaster that is Obama Care; I’m going to fight with every breath in my body to stop amnesty, which is taking jobs from millions of Americans; I’m going to fight to stop the death that’s bankrupting our kids and grandkids and I’m going to fight to defend the bill of rights and the second amendment of religious liberty.’ Now that by in large is most of what the Republican members of congress promised, but when they get to Washington, they break those promises, and if you keep those promises, that’s being unlikeable, that’s what they get mad at. It’s not treating people with anything less than civility or decorum or respect. You know, you look at the debate, the last several debates we saw Donald Trump and Marco Rubio yelling and insulting each other and making fun of each other’s body parts. I think that has no place in politics, and I certainly don’t respond to those insults in kind. I keep focus on substance, but the thing to remember, if someone is well liked in Washington, it’s because they’re going along with Washington selling you out, and to change it – you know someone else who was despised in Washington was Ronald Reagan – if you look at the Reagan revolution – remember, in 1976, Reagan had primaried Gerald Ford. Now you want to make Republican leadership loathe you, come within an inch of beating the incumbent Republican President in the primaries. They hated him! Now Reagan, likewise, he wasn’t mean about it, he didn’t insult people, but he said ‘We have to stand for something’. This is not a fraternal order, we need to actually defend shared principles!’, and they hated him for it, but what gave Reagan his strength is he didn’t rely on Washington – he took the case to the people, and that is very much the basis of our campaign as well. If we’re going to break the Washington cartel, it’s going to be the grass roots, and so my strength are millions of men and women across this country that are fed up with a Washington that doesn’t listen to us, that doesn’t protect our jobs, that doesn’t protect our interests, and that is selling our rights down the river. And the way we turn it around is just like the Reagan revolution, with a grassroots army from the people. Dan Proft: Yes, and I think we can all unify as a party around the idea that we appreciate your lack of interest in Donald Trump’s body parts. Before we let you go – I know you have a busy schedule, and a lot of states to check out before tomorrow’s elections, just a closing thought for Illinois voters. What’s the value proposition for President Ted Cruz? What’s he going to do in the first 100 days, so people know what they’re getting when they go to the polls in Illinois tomorrow and pull the lever for Ted Cruz? Ted Cruz: I think this election is about three things: it’s about jobs, it’s about freedom and it’s about security. My number one priority is jobs and economic growth. We have the lowest percentage of Americans working right now than any year since 1977, and the people I’m fighting for are the single moms that are right now waiting tables and working 2-3 part-time jobs, and you’ve had your hours forcibly reduced to 28-29 hours a week, because Obama Care kicks in at 30 hours a week. The people I’m fighting for are the truck drivers and steel workers and plumbers and mechanics. You know, the men and women with calluses on your hands, the union members who are just getting hammered right now; your wages haven’t gone up, and yet the costs of living keeps going up and up and up. The people I’m fighting for are the students who are coming out of school with loans up your eyeballs, wondering, are you going to get a job? What does the future hold for you? And the media tells us this is a new normal, we have to accept that! That is simply not the truth! If I’m elected president, we will repeal Obama Care, we’ll pass a simple flat tax and abolish the IRF and we’ll lift back the regulations that are killing small businesses, and the effect of that, we’re going to see millions of high paying jobs, we’re going to see wages rising for everybody, and we’re going to see young people coming out of schools with 2-3-4-5 jobs opportunities. Secondly and critically, freedom; the Constitution and Bill of Rights hang in the balance. The Supreme Court hangs in the balance. Donald Trump has told you he will cut a deal with Harry Reid and Chuck Schumer to arrive upon Antonin Scalia’s replacement. I am not going to compromise away your religious liberty. I’m not going to compromise away your Second Amendment. Instead, every justice I’ve put on the court will defend the Bill of Rights ferociously for your children and for mine. And then finally, security; we need a president who will stand by our friends and allies, who will stand with the nation of Israel – not be neutral – like Donald Trump has promised to be, but stand un-apologetically with Israel, and who will stand up and defeat our enemies, as president, I will rebuild the military just like Ronald Reagan did; we will rebuild the military so that it remains the mightiest fighting force on the face of the planet, and we will utterly destroy ISIS, we will defeat radical Islamic terrorism, and we’ll have a president that doesn’t undermine our fighting men and women. That doesn’t undermine our police officers and firefighters and search responders, but instead a presidents who stands with our soldiers and sailors and airmen and marines, who stands with our cops and our firefighters, and has their back. We can do all of that if we just go back to who we are, and that’s what this election is about. Illinois is a battleground. We are neck in neck with Donald Trump. I ask you to stand with us, and if we stand together, we’re going to win this nomination and we are going to win the general and bring back jobs and economic growth and prosperity to this nation once again.