Several Republican presidential campaigns have labeled Texas Sen. Ted Cruz's campaign as dishonest — and now a Cruz supporter says he agrees.
C. Steven Tucker, a member of Cruz's Illinois leadership team, told the Washington Examiner he could not stay silent about the falsehoods repeatedly uttered by the senator on the campaign trail. Specifically, Tucker takes issue with Cruz's comments about Donald Trump's ideas on healthcare.
"Senator Cruz's quotes are very salacious and incorrect. He says if you vote for Donald Trump, you vote for Bernie Sanders-style socialized medicine; Trump, Clinton, Sanders have identical positions on healthcare," Tucker said. "That is absolutely, 100 percent not true."
Politifact agrees with Tucker and rated Cruz's claim as "false." Tucker said he still plans to maintain his support for Cruz but would not shy away from speaking out.
"There's a difference between hyperbole and an actual lie, and unfortunately Senator Cruz has repeated lies repeatedly on the campaign trail," Tucker said. "He's actually still repeating a lie that Trump is for single-payer and socialized medicine and a plan that's exactly like Sanders and Hillary, which is a lie. I wish that he would stop that and correct the record, I doubt it will happen."
Tucker penned a piece on his website calling out Cruz, and noted that the campaign may not wish to keep him as a delegate after reading it, but he fully intends to honor his commitment. Tucker said rumors that he would quit Cruz and join the Trump train are false.
The Cruz campaign responded to the Washington Examiner's request for comment in an email standing by its assertion that Trump supports single-payer healthcare.
"Trump in this "60 Minutes" interview clearly states that everyone is going to be covered and that the government is going to pay for it," said Rick Tyler, Cruz spokesman, in an email. "That is single-payer socialized medicine."
Tucker's criticism comes as the campaign has become inundated with attacks from all sides. Trump tweeted that he agrees with Florida Sen. Marco Rubio that "Cruz is a liar."
Rubio campaign surrogates, meanwhile, have cut ads and held phone calls with reporters slamming the Cruz campaign. House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz, who's supporting Rubio, bemoaned the Cruz campaign's behavior on Thursday.
"It's disturbing to see the pattern from the Cruz campaign — it's a consistent pattern, it's a pattern of personal destruction, and it's rooted in falsehoods," Chaffetz told reporters about the Cruz campaign's tactics. "And it's dirty pool and I think people are sick of it."
Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush's surrogates joined the attacks on Cruz, too. South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham opened a Bush town hall with remarks that featured a harsh rebuke of Cruz.
"Nobody works with Ted," Graham told the crowd. "In Ted's world, everybody's wrong except Ted. In Ted's world, there's not much common ground."
The newest series of attacks on Cruz from rival campaigns come after a new NBC/WSJ poll showing the Texas senator leading a national poll of Republican primary voters. But Tucker's misgivings about the Texas senator's words predate Cruz's recent success and suggest the 'Cruz Crew' may have begun to question its own leader.
The Cruz campaign also distributed a fundraising pitch on Thursday decrying the "misleading information" from the press and other sources. The fundraising solicitation promises supporters that the senator will behave honorably.
"Friend, despite how frustrating this process is — it is of critical importance. I will never give up fighting for Americans and working to win this campaign because so much is on the line," Cruz's solicitation reads.
"I will run an honorable campaign. I will discuss the differences between candidates, but I will not engage in personal attacks. And when I'm personally attacked, I will not respond in kind with vicious below-the-belt revenge attacks."
Nevadans will caucus for the GOP on Tuesday.