Cruz Asks Staffer to Resign Over Rubio Video

Cruz Asks Staffer to Resign Over Rubio Video
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Ted Cruz asked his communications director to resign after posting a false report about Marco Rubio dissing the Bible, Cruz told reporters in Nevada on Monday.

“We are not a campaign that’s going to question the faith of another candidate,” Cruz said.

Cruz’s communications director, Rick Tyler, on Sunday began disseminating a video, published by The Right Scoop, in which Rubio appeared to tell a Cruz aide reading the Bible that there are “not many answers in it.” But the video actually showed the opposite: Rubio telling the man that “all the answers are in” the Bible.

Cruz’s campaign initially apologized to Rubio for the flap, with Tyler posting his own apology to Facebook. “I’ve deleted the post because I would not knowingly post a false story,” Tyler wrote Monday. “But the fact remains that I did post it when I should have checked its accuracy first. I regret the mistake.”

But Rubio continued to push the issue, suggesting Monday that Cruz should fire someone for the mistake.

“At some point there has to be some level of accountability,” Rubio said. “Otherwise ... you're sending the message to the people who work for you: Go out and do anything you want and if you get caught we'll just apologize, but we'll keep doing it."

Later Monday, Cruz indeed acted to punish the offender.

The timing of Cruz’s announcement that he would ask Tyler to resign, however, seemed to catch his spokesman off guard. Just minutes prior, Tyler appeared on “America's Newsroom” on Fox News; afterward, he was preparing for an MSNBC appearance when he abruptly left, according to a reporter for that network.

Cruz might have acted too late to prevent lasting political damage, however. In addition to Rubio, Donald Trump also picked up on the incident as further proof in his case against Cruz as a dishonest campaigner, a narrative that seemed to take its toll on Cruz’s support in the South Carolina primary. The Texas senator finished third, well behind Trump and narrowly edged by Rubio.

“Wow, Ted Cruz falsely suggested Marco Rubio mocked the Bible and was just forced to fire his Communications Director,” Trump tweeted Monday. “More dirty tricks!”

Tyler’s firing will leave Cruz without his top communications aide at a pivotal juncture in the Republican primary, with just one week until Super Tuesday on March 1. Cruz will need to perform strongly in the 11 states voting that day, many of which skew conservative, to have a shot at the nomination.

Update: This story was amended to correct the name of the Fox News program Tyler appeared on Monday.

Rebecca Berg is a national political reporter for RealClearPolitics. She can be reached at rberg@realclearpolitics.com.

 

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