Election 2020

Cruz Cans Spokesman After Spreading Story That Rubio Disrespected the Bible

Rick Tyler, communications director for Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) presidential campaign, speaks Jan. 7, 2015, in Storm Lake, Iowa. (AP Photo/Scott Bauer)

Sen. Ted Cruz’s (R-Texas) communications director apologized for sharing a video incorrectly subtitled to make it appear that Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) was disrespecting a Cruz staffer’s Bible.

Half a day after Rick Tyler apologized to Rubio, though, Cruz asked for his aide’s resignation.

The staffer was sitting next to Cruz’s father, Rafael, in the lobby of a hotel when Rubio walked by and commented “got a good book there.” In a subtitled version of the cell phone video circulated, Rubio then purportedly said “not many answers in it, especially that one.” This is the version Tyler circulated.

In a late-night apology on his Facebook page, Tyler admitted the quote was incorrect. Rubio stressed that he said there were “a lot of answers in it,” specifically referring to the staffer reading the book of Proverbs.

“I want to apologize to Senator Marco Rubio for posting an inaccurate story about him here earlier today. The story showed a video of the Senator walking past a Ted Cruz staffer seated in the lobby of a hotel reading his Bible. The story misquoted a remark the Senator made to the staffer,” Tyler wrote.

“I assumed wrongly that the story was correct. According to the Cruz staffer, the Senator made a friendly and appropriate remark. Since the audio was unclear, I should not have assumed the story was correct,” Cruz’s national spokesman continued. “I’ve deleted the post because I would not knowingly post a false story. But the fact remains that I did post it when I should have checked its accuracy first. I regret the mistake.”

Tyler, who formerly led the Maine GOP, was a longtime spokesman for Newt Gingrich and was spokesman for Rep. Todd Akin (R-Mo.) during the Senate campaign that was derailed by the congressman’s “legitimate rape” quote.

Rubio told reporters today that he accepted Tyler’s apology but “it’s part of a pattern” from the Cruz campaign.

“I mean, if this just happens once, you look at it and say, ‘all right those are things that happen in a campaign.’ It’s every day there’s something new. Perhaps that was the most offensive one because they basically made it up… You can’t just say it was people in the lobby; they actively promoted and pushed it on people that somehow I had disrespected the Bible,” Rubio said. “…For them to take a video and transcribe words on it that are the complete opposite of what I said — it’s incredibly disturbing.”

Soon after, Cruz announced that he’d asked Tyler to step aside, saying his spokesman is “a good man” who made a “grave error in judgment.”

“Even if it was true, we are not a campaign that is going to question the faith of another candidate,” Cruz told reporters. “…The standards of conduct in this campaign have been made absolutely clear for every member of the campaign.

“I understand that Marco’s campaign team believes it’s politically advantageous to try to distract the topic from his own record. And they have a long record they’ve earned in South Carolina of engaging in this kind of trickery and impugning the integrity of whoever their opponent is to distract the attention.”

Donald Trump chimed in on Twitter: “Wow, Ted Cruz falsely suggested Marco Rubio mocked the Bible and was just forced to fire his Communications Director. More dirty tricks!”