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With few GOP allies left, Ted Cruz takes refuge at Mar-a-Lago with his former enemy President Trump

  • Sen. Ted Cruz and former President Donald Trump had dinner together on Tuesday night. 
  • Trump and Cruz spent years at each other’s throats, but Cruz became a loyal ally to Trump during his impeachment.
  • Both face potential roadblocks in their political careers right now, which may have pushed them toward a cynical but politically expedient alignment.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Politics makes for strange bedfellows — and dinner companions. 

On Tuesday night, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz posted a photo of himself enjoying dinner with former President Donald Trump at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago property.

“Had a great dinner tonight with President Trump at Mar-a-Lago. He’s in great spirits! We spent the evening talking about working together to re-take the House & Senate in 2022,” Cruz wrote. 

This candlelit dinner may come as a surprise to anyone who’s been following the relationship between the pair over the years. Neither has been shy about expressing their utter disgust about the other one, nor have they been shy about their ambitions for political power. Their union shows what unbridled cynicism and ambition look like when they cross paths.

What might they talk about at dinner? The time Trump accused Cruz’s father of plotting JFK’s assassination or the time he insulted Heidi Cruz’s looks?

Maybe they discuss when Cruz once joked to Jimmy Kimmel: “If I were in my car and getting ready to reverse and saw Donald in the backup camera, I’m not confident which pedal I’d push.”

The two have spouted a dictionary’s worth of insults at one another over the years. 

Trump called Cruz “a totally unstable individual” and “worse than Hillary.” Cruz, meanwhile, called Trump a “pathological liar,” a “sniveling coward,” and “consistently disgraceful.”

But they’re also well aware of the political capital the other one holds, even — and especially — as divisive figures within the GOP. Trump turned to Cruz during the 2018 midterm elections, hoping to heal some of the cracks within the party. It didn’t work — Republicans lost Congress — but it at least garnered Cruz a new nickname. He went from “Lyin’ Ted” to “Beautiful Ted.”

“My attitude is, I’ve got a job to do,” Cruz said in an interview with The Washington Post in 2o2o. “To do my job, I’ve got to work with the president. And, you know, I could have made the choice to allow my feelings to be hurt, to take my marbles and go home. But I think that would’ve been an irresponsible choice.”

Cruz also played a major part in Trump’s challenges to the 2020 election. He agreed to argue a Texas lawsuit in front of the Supreme Court on behalf of Trump’s cause. The case never made it to the Court, but Cruz has become a useful and loyal ally to the former president.

This week, as Trump anxiously awaits the decision of an independent oversight board over whether he’ll be able to join Facebook again, he may be in need of that loyalty: According to one anonymous source close to the campaign, getting back his Facebook account is “essential for his future political viability.”

If he doesn’t have his account restored, he’ll have to rely on his new blog to communicate with voters.

Cruz may also need a friend. Last week he published a Wall Street Journal editorial saying he’d no longer help “woke CEOs” with tax breaks or regulatory changes. 

 

“To America’s watch-me-woke-it-up CEOs, I say: When the time comes that you need help with a tax break or a regulatory change, I hope the Democrats take your calls because we may not. Starting now, we won’t take your money either,” he tweeted.

Walter Shaub, who ran the Office of Government Ethics under both Obama and Trump, said Cruz’s statement was, possibly “the most openly corrupt thing any Senator has said.”

“It’s the part everyone knows: these crooks sell access. Others have the sense not to admit it. This is why our republic is broken. Immoral politicians selling power we’ve entrusted to them like it’s theirs to sell,” he continued. 

Cruz has always been something of a pariah within his party. As an early member of the Tea Party Caucus, Cruz was in the ironic position of being a leader in a government he’d vowed to dismantle.

Politicians including Chris Christie, John Boehner, and former President George W. Bush have all expressed open dislike of him. 

“If you killed Ted Cruz on the floor of the Senate, and the trial was in the Senate, nobody would convict you,” Lindsey Graham said at the Washington Press Club Foundation’s 72nd Congressional Dinner, in 2016.

In February, Cruz angered politicians on both sides of the aisle when he jetted off to Cancun with his family during one of the worst winter storms in Texas history. For that, he garnered the moniker “least sympathetic politician in America.”

Still, Cruz’s current term doesn’t end until 2024, which means he still has time to refashion his image and push for further power within the party.

Cruz and Trump may be two of the most polarizing politicians in America, but at least they have each other.

 



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