Literally hours after the GOP consultant Alex Castellanos laid out the new establishment plan to take down GOP frontrunner Donald Trump—just like “Brutus killed Caesar,” by aiming to get close then “shiv him in the ribs”—a New York Times article made it appear as though Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) was going to be Brutus to Trump’s Caesar.
Only problem? The Times took Cruz campaign manager Jeff Roe out of context in writing its story.
The New York Times’ Trip Gabriel, reporting from a Cruz campaign event in Iowa in a piece printed on Saturday, wrote: “Although Mr. Cruz has declined to criticize Mr. Trump, the senator’s campaign manager sniffed at Mr. Trump’s much larger crowd in Mobile, Ala., on Friday night.”
“I’d take these 2,500 people over 12,000 in a football stadium in Alabama any day,” Jeff Roe, Cruz’s campaign manager, said in an interview with the Times outside the ballroom in which Cruz was speaking.
“These people are coming to be part of a movement,” Roe added of Cruz’s supporters, before saying of Trump’s supporters that they “are going to be part of a show.”
The Times piece made it seem as though Roe, the Cruz campaign’s captain, was steering in an entirely different direction than the one Cruz and his campaign have taken with Trump thus far. Cruz has backed Trump up every step of the way and refused to criticize him when the establishment has come after him, but the Times piece made it look like Cruz was going to employ the Castellanos plan to shiv Trump in the ribs after having gotten close to him. But after talking with Roe, Breitbart News can confirm that that’s just not true—and there is no such ploy in play.
“The New York Times said, Trump has 12,000 and you have 2500. Isn’t he winning?” Roe told Breitbart News in a phone interview on Sunday.
And my point was, the people at our event are movement Christian conservatives. And right now, for this event, that was our target. We do events like Trump’s, too, and hats off to him for driving big crowds. That’s good for our party and positive for the country. But this event was for a specific purpose and that’s to share the stories of the heroes that have undergone the persecution of religious liberty. They brought their families, we had coloring books and Constitutions and forms on how they’d caucus and where they would go and what role they would have in the campaign. We are identifying, unifying, and activating movement conservatives, which is necessarily a more targeted audience. And we achieved that goal and were happy with the results. That’s why I said we’d take our audience.
When asked if the Times took it out of context, Roe said, “for sure.”
“No, no, no not at all,” Roe said when asked if what’s going on here is akin to how Castellanos described a kind of an effort to take out Trump.
“It is pretty clear that people are energized and excited by his [Trump’s] candidacy,” Roe said. “That is without dispute. People who give quotes like what Castellanos did—that’s a joke. That’s what people who are losing say.”
Nonetheless, other conservative GOP presidential campaigns are watching these developments very closely and couldn’t be more excited about a potential Trump versus Cruz battle brewing.
“Cruz’s establishment campaign operatives had been disciplined in hiding their disdain for Mr. Trump’s campaign and its populist adherents,” one GOP operative from an opposing conservative presidential campaign different from Trump or Cruz said in an email. “After all, very few Trump supporters are graduates of both Princeton University and Harvard Law School. The Cruz campaign is no longer able to hide their frustration with Mr. Trump, who refuses to get with the Cruz playbook and just go away.”
Another GOP strategist for another rival presidential campaign, also different from Trump or Cruz, told Breitbart News that Trump is the real deal.
“Anyone denying the authenticity of Trump’s appeal, let alone his message and his support, must still be stuck in the Birther movement,” that strategist said.
It’s unclear what will happen next, but for now this potential Trump versus Cruz war is a false alarm. Down the road, though, who knows what will happen? It looks like for now it’s just the mainstream media trying to gin up an intra-conservative war.