Could the two most ferocious Republican presidential candidates in a generation put aside their very personal differences and unite for the good of the country? That’s what the communications director for the one who lost said in an Independence Day appearance on CNN.
“I think we’re looking at someone like Newt Gingrich or possibly Chris Christie,” Alice Stewart, Sen. Ted Cruz’s ex-communications director from his 2016 GOP presidential bid, said on CNN when asked whom she thinks presumptive GOP nominee Donald Trump will pick as his vice president.
But as to who would be best for Trump in a general election against presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Rodham Clinton, Stewart pushed her old boss Cruz for the job.
“I think Ted Cruz has tremendous momentum,” Stewart said next. “Needless to say, I think there’s some water that needs to be mended in between the two candidates. But that would be my pick.”
That Stewart would pitch Cruz—clearly another talented GOP candidate who if he joined forces with Trump would make them virtually unstoppable—is yet another sign that Cruz’s camp has clearly come a long way since the divisive primary. Other signs of recent progress include that Jason Miller, a senior communications adviser to Cruz, has joined the Trump campaign as communications director and Cruz Super PAC adviser KellyAnne Conway has joined the Trump campaign in a senior capacity as well.
“I’m saying who I think would be the best VP given [that Cruz was] number two coming out of the primary has tremendous support,” Stewart continued. “He is the leader of the conservative movement right now and I think he would be the best pick.”
That’s a long way from where Cruz and his allies were even a week ago, when Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) appeared on the Steve Malzberg show on NewsMax TV to rip into Trump. Lee said:
We can get into the fact that he accused my best friend’s father of conspiring to kill JFK. We can go through the fact that he has made some statements that some have identified, correctly, as religiously intolerant. We can into the fact that he is wildly unpopular in my state in part because my state consists of members who are a religious minority church, a people who were ordered exterminated by the governor of Missouri in 1838, and statements like that make them nervous. Now look, these things are not some things that I couldn’t get over if I heard the right things out of him. But if you want to go to why it is I have concerns, I can go on if you like. I hope I can get over these concerns. I hope Mr. Trump can help me identify them, but don’t sit here and tell me, Steve, that I have no reason to be concerned about Donald Trump.
Cruz has been particularly quiet in recent weeks since dropping out of the race on May 3 after losing Indiana to Trump in the finale of a brutal, tumultuous, roller-coaster ride of a race. Despite appearing in support of some Senate candidates like Darryl Glenn in Colorado—Glenn has come out in full support of Trump for president—Cruz has not said much about the presidential race since dropping out.
If somehow Cruz were able to put aside personal grievances he has with Trump—and Trump were willing to mend fences to pick Cruz as his vice president—the two would be an essentially unstoppable force. Trump has received more votes in the GOP primaries than any other nominee in the GOP’s history, while Cruz received about as many votes as average GOP nominees. Both men would be ready for the presidency, and are in their own right individually viewed as formidable political forces. Together, these forces could be insurmountable.
Ultimately, the two would have to come to an agreement that they would fully put everything that happened to them in the primaries aside, and agree to work together to win in November—and to govern together after that. It remains to be seen if this will be the pick in the end, but right now Trump and his team are hyping other possibilities like New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA), Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, and Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR). But if Cruz were willing to put aside his differences—basically all personal, not policy-based—with Trump and come to the table, he just might skyrocket to the top of the list. If it all works out, too, they may just be unstoppable.