Trump Rallies Against Cruz While He's Proving Cruz Right on Immigration

This week, Donald Trump praised a possible challenger to Ted Cruz in the 2018 Texas Senate primary, even as he vindicated one of Cruz's strongest arguments. Infamously, Trump weakened his stance on immigration — his signature issue — drawing the ire of none other than Ann Coulter, who just released a book titled "In Trump We Trust.

Shortly after Cruz declined to endorse Trump at the Republican National Convention last month, the Republican nominee talked about establishing a super PAC to spend money against the Texas senator (along with Ohio Governor John Kasich, who boycotted the RNC). According to a recent poll by the Democratic group Public Policy Polling, the only challenger who could defeat Cruz in the 2018 Senate primary is former Governor Rick Perry.

At a fundraiser in Austin on Tuesday, Trump lavished praise on Perry. "I've been hearing a lot about that [Perry running against Cruz] and I don't know if he wants to do it, but boy, will he do well," the nominee declared. "People love him in Texas, and he was one great governor."

Turning to the former governor, who was in the room at the time, Trump said, "I don't know what he's going to do but you are one popular guy all over, but in Texas in particular."

Yet the nominee did not just implicitly attack Cruz this week, he also vindicated the Texas senator's warnings about him during the presidential primary. During their heated struggle for the nomination, the Texas senator argued that Trump had pulled the wool over his supporters' eyes, and still believed in lax immigration promises. Cruz said Trump's true positions would come out in the general election. Now, that warning appears to have come true, much to the chagrin of Ann Coulter.

"It vindicates what Ted Cruz warned would happen during the course of the campaign," Chris Wilson, director of research, analytics, and digital strategy on Cruz's campaign and a top Cruz advisor, told Politico. Wilson argued that the Texas senator's speech at the RNC, far from being Cruz's political suicide, would be remembered favorably.

"Everything Trump promises comes with an expiration date," Amanda Carpenter, Cruz's former Senate communications director, added. "We knew it during the primary, and now it is apparent he has duped his most loyal supporters on the issue they care about most, immigration. Don't say we didn't warn them."

But the PPP poll didn't just say Rick Perry could defeat Ted Cruz in the 2018 primary, it also found that Cruz's popularity has taken a nosedive. Nevertheless, there are many reasons to take this news with a grain of salt.

Next Page: Reports of Ted Cruz's demise have been greatly exaggerated.