Ted Cruz on Monday found himself locked in a heated exchange with ardent Donald Trump supporters lasting more than six minutes.
Surrounded by a swath of media at a campaign stop in Indiana, Cruz stood his ground as a Trump supporter repeatedly called him “Lyin’ Ted,” Trump’s preferred moniker for his presidential rival.
“Career politicians have killed America,” one Trump supporter shouted at him. “You are the problem.”
Cruz engaged in a back and forth with the Trump supporters, insisting that the real-estate mogul’s plans to build a wall along the US-Mexico border, along with other policy promises, are a scam on voters. It came a day before the Indiana primary, in which Cruz is making something of a last-ditch effort to blunt Trump’s momentum.
“With all respect, Donald Trump is deceiving you,” Cruz said. “He is playing you for a chump.”
“Where’s your Goldman Sachs jacket at?” one of the men shot back after praising Trump for being “self-funded.” “We know your wife worked there.”
The supporters also asked Cruz, a strong supporter of looser gun regulations, what he’d do to protect the Second Amendment.
“I have defended the Second Amendment in front of the Supreme Court,” the Texas senator said. “Donald Trump is a New York liberal who will take away your Second Amendment rights.”
“Look, sir, I appreciate you being out here speaking,” Cruz continued. “But if I were Donald Trump, I wouldn’t have come over and talked to you. I wouldn’t have shown you that respect. As a matter of fact, you know what I would’ve done? I would’ve told the folks over there to go over and punch you guys in the face.”
The Trump supporters then hit the senator with chants of “Ted’s truth” and “Lyin’ Ted.”
“What word did I say was a lie?” Cruz shot back.
“About Donald telling people to punch people,” the man standing directly in front of him answered.
Cruz asked the men to Google Trump’s comments from earlier in the year when he said that he’d like to “punch” a protester “in the face.”
“Look, this was on national television,” Cruz said.
At this point, the Trump supporters began to cut off Cruz’s answers.
“America is a better country,” Cruz began.
“Without you,” the supporters interjected.
Cruz, who is trailing Trump by more than nine points in the latest RealClearPolitics average of several polls, went to point out that he had “been respectful the entire time.”
“A question that everyone here should ask,” he continued, before the Trump supporters cut him off again.
“Are you Canadian?” they asked.