Ted Cruz tells Hugh Hewitt that it would be a huge mistake for GOP "power brokers" to change Rule 40 of the Republican convention rules, which states that a candidate must win 8 states to be considered for nomination.
"There is a little bit or irony in that it was the Romney team that put this rule in place [in 2012]," he said. "To prevent Ron Paul from being put on the ballot."
HUGH HEWITT: So Senator Cruz, I’ve got my Republican Rosetta Stone, so I could translate that. Are you endorsing Rule 40?
SEN. TED CRUZ: It is the rules that govern the convention. And of course, the Washington power brokers shouldn’t try to change the rules to steal the nomination. Of course, we should operate under the rules that govern the nomination.
HH: Now those were the rules adopted in 2012. There’s a Politico story today already of members of the new rules committee want to do away with Rule 40 as an arbitrary imposition of Team Romney in 2012. What do you make of that assessment by them? And they are not members of Team Cruz or Team Trump.
TC: Well, I think that would be a terrible idea for the Washington power brokers to change the rules, because they’re unhappy with the candidates who the voters are voting for. Under the rules, and you’re right, there is some irony in that it was the Romney Team that put this rule in place to prevent Ron Paul from being put on the ballot. And it was the Washington establishment that put this rule in place. So now when the Washington establishment candidates are losing, they want to change the rules to try to parachute in some candidate who hasn’t earned the votes of the people. That is nothing short of crazy. Under the rules, we should operate under the rules. Now I believe, still, that we’re going to earn 1,237 delegates before the convention by winning in the races that are coming up. But there is a real possibility that nobody gets to 1,237. And if that’s the case, we should operate under the rules that existed when this whole process started. And those rules say that in order to be on the ballot, you have to have won eight states. Only two of us will meet that threshold – me and Donald Trump. Those will be the two names on the ballot. And I think if the Washington deal makers try to change the rules to cook the books and insert their favorite deal maker, I think there would rightly be a revolt of the voters. We would have had elections in 50 states, and we need to honor the will of the voters and respect what they decide.
HH: Are you going to instruct Ted Cruz loyal members of the rules committee to fight any change to Rule 40?
TC: Well, I think the delegates are naturally going to know that rules changes designed to subvert the will of the voters are a bad idea. And I would expect the delegates who were elected supporting me would have that thought. But I would also expect the delegates supporting Donald Trump would have that thought, that we need to respect the will of the voters. And if it comes to a contested convention, where I’ve got a ton of delegates, and Donald Trump has a ton of delegates, then the issue will be decided on who can earn a majority. And it’s worth noting these delegates are by and large elected by the people in their respective states, and that’s how the rules work. And to win the nomination, you have to earn a majority. And that’s what the convention will be for if no one can get to a majority before the convention.
HH: So we’re making a little news here, because you’re being much more clear than anyone has been thus far in the process leading up to this. You want to deny John Kasich the opportunity to be on the ballot under the current rules, even though he’s a home state governor and it’s in Cleveland. Is that a good idea, Ted Cruz?
TC: Well, let’s be clear. It’s not me denying John Kasich anything. He keeps losing. He went 0-27. It’s the voters who voted against him in 27 states in a row. Then he won his home state, and then he proceeded to lose two more states, Utah and Arizona. He is not going to win Wisconsin next week. And if you lose state after state after state, under the rules, you don’t get to be on the ballot. Elections have consequences. If you want to be the Republican nominee, the answer isn’t to go to Washington and convince a bunch of lobbyists that you’ll support business as usual. The answer is to win at the ballot box. If you want to beat Donald Trump, and listen, I’ve been very clear. I think nominating Donald Trump would be an absolute disaster. It would hand the general election to Hillary Clinton, which would have catastrophic consequences for this country. But if you want to beat Donald Trump, the way to do so is not some backroom deal in Washington that steals the nomination and hands it to someone who hasn’t won at the ballot box. The way instead is to beat Donald trump at the polls. That’s what we’ve done. We’ve beaten Donald to date in ten different states all across this country, all the way from Alaska literally to Maine. And we’re going to continue beating him, and we’re going to win a majority of the delegates, I believe, and earn the nomination, and then beat Hillary Clinton in November and turn this country around.