Trump apologized to Ted Cruz for jabbing his wife and dad in 2016 election run, Manafort claims

Some have speculated that the bid for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination could be as dramatic as the 2016 race whether or not former President Donald Trump decides to run. But, according to one insider, then-candidate Trump may have been more diplomatic than previously conveyed.

As a Republican consultant and briefly the chair of Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign, Paul Manafort had some insight into what was going on behind the scenes as his then boss and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) became the last two candidates with a shot at securing the nomination.

Ahead of the release of a new memoir, “Political Prisoner: Persecuted, Prosecuted, but Not Silenced,” the Guardian obtained excerpts wherein the author alleges the perceived unapologetic businessman had indeed extended an olive branch to Cruz ahead of the 2016 Republican National Convention.

“On his own initiative, Trump did apologize for saying some of the things he said about Cruz, which was unusual for Trump,” Manafort was said to have written about a meeting where the senator agreed to work with the future president but not to endorse him, “because his supporters didn’t want him to.”

“It was a forced justification for someone who is normally very logical,” the author claimed. “Trump didn’t buy it.”

Leading into the RNC where Trump accepted the nomination, his campaign had taken shots at the senator’s wife, Heidi Cruz, for her appearance, and his father, Rafael Cruz, drawing a connection between the Cuban-born immigrant and Lee Harvey Oswald suggesting the lawmaker’s father had something to do with the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

“His father was with Lee Harvey Oswald prior to Oswald’s being — you know, shot. I mean, the whole thing is ridiculous,” Trump has said in an interview with Fox News before the conspiracy theory was readily debunked. Similarly, the campaign had defended shots against Cruz’s wife contending that the senator’s campaign had fired the first salvo with an attack on Trump’s wife, Melania Trump.

“This isn’t about Heidi Cruz,” Trump spokeswoman Katrina Pierson told MSNBC at the time, “this is about Melania Trump. Melania Trump was the one that was attacked,” after a super PAC had included a nude photo of the former model in an ad.

Trump “told Cruz he considered him an ally, not an enemy, and that he believed they could work together when Trump was president,” Manafort wrote of the alleged meeting.

However, the author’s claim comes without any remark from either party to corroborate the story. In fact, at the time, Cruz held firm, saying: “Neither he nor his campaign has ever taken back a word they said about my wife and my family.”

“That pledge was not a blanket commitment that if you go and slander and attack Heidi, that I’m going to nonetheless come like a servile puppy dog and say, ‘Thank you very much for maligning my wife and maligning my father,” Cruz said, following his decision not to endorse Trump at the RNC.

When it was suggested he “get over it” the senator replied, “No, this is not politics. I will tell the truth. I will not malign, I will not insult, I will tell the truth. This is not a game, this is not politics. Right and wrong matters. We have not abandoned who we are in this country.”

The senator eventually showed his support for Trump and has since suggested that his decisions for 2024 depend on what the former president’s intentions are.

Manafort, who was convicted on fraud and money-laundering charges in 2018 and pardoned before Trump’s term ended, was also said to have covered the allegations of Russian collusion, the impropriety of the U.S. justice system, and his support for another Trump presidency in the book slated for release August 16.

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Kevin Haggerty

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