The escalating conflict between Sens. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Ted Cruz (R-Texas) today roped in Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.).
Gowdy, who leads the House Select Committee on Benghazi, endorsed Rubio just after Christmas and has made many stops across his home state to stump for his pick.
On Tuesday, Gowdy reacted angrily to a Facebook post — which has since been taken down — claiming to be written by Gowdy.
“Friends, It is official, I have changed my mind. My previous endorsement of Marco Rubio was a grave mistake. The recent South Carolina debate revealed his total lack of integrity, intillect [sp] and foresight. To all my Christian and Conservative friends in South Carolina, I hereby formally endorse Ted Cruz for President of the United States. Please share this message. May God bless the United States of America. Trey Gowdy Prayers,” said the post.
Rubio’s camp accused Cruz supporters of trying to circulate the false information, and Gowdy called on Cruz to repudiate “these dishonest and underhanded tactics.”
“As a prosecutor, and in Congress, I’ve devoted my life to the rule of law and truth. The truth actually matters to me and to all South Carolinians,” Gowdy said in a statement released by Rubio’s campaign. “Unfortunately it appears that the campaign of Senator Ted Cruz may not place the same value on waging a contest based on the truth and facts.”
“In the last week, we have seen a systematic effort by Senator Cruz and his allies to spread false information and outright lies in the hopes of winning votes by appealing to our lowest common denominator. Now, it’s been reported that a fake Facebook page has been used to fool South Carolinians into thinking that I no longer support Marco Rubio and that I’m instead supporting Ted Cruz. Nothing could be further from the truth,” Gowdy said.
“Our campaign had absolutely nothing to do with this fraudulent Facebook post,” Cruz tweeted Tuesday night. “This kind of deception is deplorable and nothing like it would be tolerated by this campaign.”
Rick Tyler, Cruz’s campaign spokesman, told Fox today that Gowdy is a “former federal prosecutor with apparently limited skills” who failed to research the Facebook post.
Gowdy was a federal prosecutor from 1994 to 2000 and was the solicitor for South Carolina’s Seventh Judicial Circuit before ousting incumbent Rep. Bob Inglis (R-S.C.) in 2010.
“And the irony here is there was a representative from Facebook in our office the day this happened and they asked about it and they looked it up. And guess what, Marco Rubio’s campaign made no attempt to take it down. So they asked us what we would like to do and we said go ahead and take it down. It was down in three minutes,” Tyler said. “The Marco Rubio campaign is lying about it because they didn’t do anything to take the phony Facebook post down.”
Rubio’s camp fired back that Cruz owes Gowdy an apology.
“We can have honest policy disagreements, but instead Cruz campaign officials go on national TV and slander Trey Gowdy,” said Rubio’s communications director Alex Conant. “To be clear: The Cruz campaign’s insults and accusations are nothing compared to the cases Trey Gowdy took on as a federal prosecutor. Today’s actions by Senator Cruz and those who speak for him are indicative of a campaign spiraling out-of-control in an all-out-effort to win at any costs, even if it means sacrificing the senator’s integrity in the process.”
“Voters will reject Senator Cruz’s campaign of personal insults, deceptions, push polls, and ads so misleading they can’t be aired.”