Conservative talk show host, author, and founder of The Blaze, Glenn Beck, a fervent supporter of Ted Cruz during the GOP presidential primary, put the Texas senator in the hot seat on Monday, grilling him over his shocking endorsement of Donald Trump announced on Friday.
Beck, who is still firmly in the “Never Trump” camp, grilled Cruz from the beginning in an interview that no one will call “softball.” He started out by asking Cruz, who was calm and serious during the entire interview, how he could go from “vote your conscience” to now not only announcing that he’s voting for Donald Trump, but encouraging others to as well.
“So am I now suppose to vote for him, or am I supposed to vote my conscience?” Beck asked, already showing a tone in his voice that expressed some disdain.
“Well, Glenn, what I said in Cleveland and what I would say today is the same thing. You should follow your conscience. And I believe what I laid out in Cleveland was don’t stay home and vote your conscience and vote for candidates you trust to defend the Constitution. And what I was trying to do in Cleveland was lay out a path to uniting Republicans and lay out a path to winning. And in particular, I was saying to the Trump campaign — ‘This is how you earn my vote and I believe how you earn the vote of other conservatives — you defend freedom and defend the Constitution.’ This is about principles and ideas.”
When Ted Cruz began to explain how Hillary Clinton is certainly not the person to defend the Constitution, Glenn Beck interrupted, pointing out that we’ve known that “for 25 years,” and noted that when Cruz was asked over the weekend whether Donald Trump is fit to be president, he avoided directly answering the question.
“What I said is this is a binary choice — I wish it were not a binary choice,” Cruz responded. “You know, I tried very, very hard, as did you, to prevent it from being a binary choice between Hillary and Donald Trump and I think it is fair to say there was no other Republican candidate who left more on the field and did more to stop Donald from being the nominee than I did. But the voters made a different decision and you have to respect the democratic process even if you may not be terribly happy with the outcome…”
“So a man — I just want to make sure I understand — so a man who has principles who says, ‘There are lines I will not cross,’ it’s still a binary choice — so a man who you cannot come on and say, ‘Yes, Glenn, he is fit to be President of the United States,’ I still am encouraged by you to abandon my principles and vote because it’s a binary choice?” Beck asked, interrupting Cruz again.
“You are encouraged by me to do what you believe is right and honorable and principled,” Cruz answered. “And from my perspective, as I look at the issues, Hillary Clinton is telling us she will do enormous damage to the country,” Cruz explained, bringing up issues like filling Supreme Court vacancies while stating that “every one of our constitutional rights hangs in the balance.”
Glenn Beck said that Ted Cruz knew these things in July at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland and had previously accused Donald Trump of being a “sociopathic liar” during the campaign and wondered how voters are now supposed to believe Trump when he takes positions on issues.
“First of all, I have had many significant disagreements with Donald Trump, but as you noted I have not been shy to articulate those at considerable length. I don’t intend to do so at this point — the primary is over. We are in a general election with a binary choice and I don’t think it’s beneficial for me laying out those concerns,” Cruz answered.
Again, Beck pressed, asking Cruz what changed between the convention and now to make Cruz change his mind when he could have done so at the convention.
Ted Cruz explained that what changed for him was on Friday, the same day Cruz made his endorsement announcement, the Trump campaign guaranteed him that they would indeed pick from the list of potential Supreme Court nominees and also added Utah Senator Mike Lee , a principled constitutionalist, to the top of the list.
“That was not an accident that that occurred,” Cruz told Beck. “When several weeks ago — when I sat down with Mike Pence in Washington — Mike asked me, ‘What would it take to get you on board?’ And for months, I had been telling Donald — I’ve been telling the campaign my greatest concern was protecting the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and the rule of law. I told Donald that before the convention, I said that over and over and over again. And when we talked about, ‘Well, what could the campaign do to give any degree of reassurance on the Constitution and the rule of law, we discussed the Supreme Court as being one of the great checks protecting the Constitution and the rule of law. And the Trump campaign committing to nominate from that list was an important change that gave me significant reassurance that helped get me to the point of saying ‘yes.”
Co-host Stu Burguiere then asked Cruz how he could possibly believe Trump’s word on the Supreme Court or anything else considering his well-documented history of being flimsy with the truth. Cruz answered by referring to his endorsement announcement on Facebook and explained that it was a decision that he “agonized about,” but that he knew with “one-hundred percent certainty” that Hillary Clinton would appoint “left-wing ideologues” to the Supreme Court and that the free speech, the right to bear arms and U.S. sovereignty would likely be eliminated.
Cruz said that “he hoped” Trump would follow through on his commitment since he’s publicly promised to, but there is no way of knowing with certainty if anyone will keep their word.
“The fact that he is publicly promising he will nominate from these 21, I think creates a dynamic where compared to Hillary who is promising to put left-wing ideologues, that’s a clear choice,” Cruz contended.
Ted Cruz then explained that his much-ballyhooed speech in Cleveland was unfortunately perceived to mean he was “Never Trump,” but Cruz said that was not actually the case. He revealed that his speech drew upon convention speeches given previously by Ted Kennedy and Ronald Reagan during their primary challenges — speeches that were largely considered endorsements of their respective party’s eventual winner.
After some contentious back-and-forth between Beck and his co-hosts, Cruz said that his goal of his convention speech was to move Trump closer to defending the Constitution and focus on the issues that matter to conservatives and that confirming that he would definitely pick from the Supreme Court list was pivotal as was Trump’s statement last week that he supported Cruz’s efforts to stop Obama’s Internet giveaway.
“I was articulating, ‘If you want my vote, defend freedom and defend the Constitution,” Cruz said.
“When Donald Trump comes in and supports our efforts to defend freedom, that’s significant. Does it mean that he will always do so in the future? No, I don’t have certainty of any candidate on that but what I do know is that what Hillary is promising to do would do enormous damage — the court would be lost for a generation. And the question of voting your conscience…listen, that is what I have struggled four months prayerfully considering what is the right thing to do.”
Cruz went on to say that voters had five choices in regards to the presidential election, including voting third-party and not voting period, but that he could not publicly defend those choices because he was always “Never Hillary,” and the only path he sees to stop her presidency is to vote for Donald Trump.
Glenn Beck, visibly angry, then skipped the commercial break, a break he said would cost him $20,000, but was well worth it to get in one more question with Cruz, which was to ask whether Cruz was selling an email list provided to him by Glenn Beck, to Donald Trump.
Cruz answered that in the same way that Beck’s radio program sells advertising, Cruz — as does every other political campaign — rents their email lists to fund their efforts. He did not say specifically whether any such arrangement had been made with the Trump campaign but noted that there is a “hit piece” today by Politico, which he called a “left-wing rag,” that is applying a standard to him that they are not applying to any other politician.
Beck concluded the interview by telling Cruz that he strongly disagreed with him on the issue of Trump but still respects him as a man.
However, after the break, a disgruntled Beck suggested that perhaps he shouldn’t have supported the most principled conservative in the primary, but maybe should have supported Marco Rubio instead based upon him being able to defeat Hillary Clinton and forgiving his prior stance on illegal immigration and amnesty.
“For the very first time I heard Ted Cruz calculate,” Beck said after the commercial break.
“And when that happened, the whole thing fell apart for me,” he continued. “And it’s my fault. It’s my fault for believing that men can actually be George Washington.”
WATCH full interview below via The Glenn Beck Program: