Republican presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) urged Republican challenger Donald Trump to allow the New York Times to release a “secret tape” of Trump allegedly explaining the flexibility of his immigration plans.
According to a report published on Monday, the New York Times editorial board recorded an off-the-record meeting it had with Trump in January where he portrayed his immigration proposals as more flexible than previously stated.
BuzzFeed reported that New York Times editorial page editor Andrew Rosenthal would not comment on the matter but indicated that the paper would only make the tape public at Trump’s request.
“If [Trump] wants to call up and ask us to release this transcript, he’s free to do that and then we can decide what we would do,” Rosenthal said.
In Texas on Monday, Cruz made the recording a campaign issue and challenged Trump to green-light the release of the “secret tape.”
“I call on Donald: Ask the New York Times to release the tape and do so today before the Super Tuesday primary,” he said before a campaign rally in San Antonio. “There are one of two instances. It is either false, and if Donald didn’t say that to the New York Times than he deserves to have this cleared up and releasing the tape can clear it up. The alternative is that it is true.”
Cruz attacked Trump for contributing to lawmakers in the “Gang of 8,” who authored the immigration reform bill that passed the Senate in 2013. Cruz said he hopes Trump is not misleading the public on his illegal immigration proposals.
“That tape can clear it up and the voters deserve to know if he says something different when he is talking to the New York Times than when he is talking to the voters and they deserve to know before Super Tuesday,” he said.
Cruz predicted that he will come away with a “bunch of delegates” after Super Tuesday and everyone other than Trump will be “way” behind.
“If that’s the case it will be time for the party to unify — head-to-head, I beat Donald Trump,” he said.
“We’re not going to have a brokered convention — the voters are going to decide this,” he added.
Cruz was asked for his opinion of Sen. Marco Rubio’s (R-Fla.) campaign vowing to go all the way to convention.
“A campaign sticking around when you can’t win a state and you are not amassing delegates, that doesn’t stop Donald Trump. We need to come together and I believe after Super Tuesday we will see this race become more and more a two-man race,” he said.
He then took a shot at Rubio for lagging behind Trump in Florida.
“You can’t beat Donald Trump if you can’t win your own home state,” he said.
A recent CBS News/YouGov poll shows Cruz ahead of Trump in his home state of Texas.
Rubio also called on Trump to permit the release of the recording.
“Donald Trump can fix that today. Donald Trump should ask The New York Times to release the audio of his interview with him so we can see exactly what it is he truly believes about this issue that he has made the cornerstone of his campaign,” he said in Conway, Ark.
The Trump campaign has not commented on the recording.