It’s well known that many Republicans in Washington do not like Sen. Ted Cruz, but the full extent of that antipathy is coming to light this week as several current and former lawmakers say they prefer Donald Trump as the GOP nominee, although they have little regard for either man.
Some GOP consultants and strategists started the rumblings in recent days. Then Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad told Republicans in his state to oppose Cruz because of the senator’s opposition to ethanol subsidies.
But the story broke wide open on Wednesday when former Senate Majority Leader and 1996 Republican presidential nominee Bob Dole said he would choose Trump over Cruz, going so far as to say a Cruz nomination would be “cataclysmic” for the Republican Party. Another former GOP Senate leader, Trent Lott, has said the same.
But Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, a Cruz supporter, is not swayed. While honoring Dole for his heroism in World War II, Gohmert told WND and Radio America many mainstream Republicans are worried about what a President Cruz would mean for them.
“You don’t get any more establishment than Bob Dole and Trent Lott,” Gohmert said. “So they’re going to be an indication of where the establishment will go. They have more belief that Trump will make deals with them and that Ted Cruz will continue to stand on principle, as he has been.”
Current officeholders are joining the chorus, including Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, and Dan Coats, R-Ind.
“An awful lot of us really didn’t like to be targeted as corrupt, establishment bought by the lobby establishment,” Coats told CNN. “It sure looks like someone was using it as a way to gain notoriety as the only true conservative in Washington.”
Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., went a step further, reportedly telling donors that he would vote for Bernie Sanders before he’d back Cruz. Burr later asked for a retraction, but the Associated Press is standing by the story.
Gohmert believes the venom in the GOP is a result of Ted Cruz doing something most other politicians don’t.
“If you’re a person that’s interested in lying or you’re interested in twisting the truth or you’re interested in breaking your promises that you made to get elected, then you’re not going to care for Ted Cruz,” Gohmert said.
Listen to the WND/Radio America interview with Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas:
But the congressman also said the notion that Capitol Hill is a wasteland of Trump supporters is dead wrong.
“Ted Cruz has got a bunch of members of Congress, solid conservatives, a whole bunch of them that have come out and endorsed Ted,” he said. “I’m not aware of anybody in the House that has endorsed Trump.”
Gohmert said moderate Republicans and the mainstream media are aligning with Trump based on a major assumption.
“They think he’ll be more of a deal maker. They’re probably figuring, ‘You know, Trump is a winner. He says what he has to to win. He’ll say what he has to to win the Republican primary,'” Gohmert explained. “And so they’re probably thinking, ‘So then he’ll go back and agree with Democrats to say what he needs to to win the general election.'”
Gohmert said the Republicans are doomed in that scenario.
“If that were to happen, as has happened before, then so many in the base of the Republicans would have nowhere else to go but third party,” he said. “That assures the Democrat wins.”
But can Cruz work with people in Congress? Gohmert said yes.
“He can compromise,” he said. “He has compromised on issues but when it comes to matters of principle, you shouldn’t be compromising on matters of principle and he doesn’t.”