While speaking to reporters outside of the White House hours ahead of a campaign rally he intends to be a part of on behalf of Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), President Donald Trump expressed to the media that he no longer considers the senator to be a liar.
Trump told reporters he is dropping the term “lyin’ Ted” — which the president used against Cruz during the GOP presidential primary contests in 2016 — in favor of a nicer term of endearment, according to reporting from HuffPost.
“He’s not ‘lyin’ Ted’ anymore. He’s ‘beautiful Ted,'” the president explained. He also said he sometimes calls Cruz “Texas Ted.”
Cruz is in the middle of a contentious re-election campaign against Democratic opponent Beto O’Rourke. Most polls have shown Cruz leading his challenger, but the Cook Political Report, which forecasts candidates’ chances for every U.S. Senate and House seat up for election, rates the race as a “toss-up” at this point, meaning that the outcome of the election could go either way.
Despite their animosity during the 2016 campaign, Trump has insisted in recent days that he and Cruz are now pals. “Ted Cruz has become a friend of mine,” Trump said at a similar political rally in Missoula, Montana, over the weekend, according to reporting from USA Today.
"To me, he's not 'Lyin' Ted' anymore—he's 'Beautiful Ted,'" Pres. Trump tells @jonkarl about Ted Cruz ahead of Houston rally. "I call him 'Texas Ted.'" https://t.co/NkJuIoh4fP pic.twitter.com/ekKgDPNQM5
— ABC News (@ABC) October 22, 2018
That’s a far cry from what Trump said about Cruz during the presidential primary contests just two years ago when Trump suggested that Cruz’s father may have played a part in the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.
“His father was with Lee Harvey Oswald prior to Oswald’s being — you know, shot. I mean, the whole thing is ridiculous,” Trump said during the campaign, per reporting from Politico at the time. “What is this, right prior to his being shot, and nobody even brings it up. They don’t even talk about that. That was reported, and nobody talks about it.”
The fact-checking site FactCheck.org, however, said of Trump’s comments regarding Cruz’s father in 2016 that it was “all nonsense,” pointing out that the story came from a sensational headline from the National Enquirer that didn’t rely on factual evidence of Cruz’s dad being involved with Oswald.
Although Trump seemed to have changed his tone on Cruz during his discussion with reporters on Monday, he didn’t back down on his claims regarding his father’s involvement in the assassination plot of Kennedy. “I don’t regret anything,” Trump said to reporters when asked about his comments from the 2016 campaign.