In an interview on NBC’s Meet the Press, Republican presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz told host Chuck Todd that he “salutes” fellow candidate Donald Trump for his controversial stance on immigration.
“I salute Donald Trump for focusing on the need to address illegal immigration,” Cruz said. “I like Donald Trump. He is bold, he is brash.”
“He has a colorful way of speaking. It’s not the way I speak,” he added. “But I'm not gonna engage in the media's game of throwing rocks and attacking other Republicans. I'm just not gonna do it."
Trump recently made headlines for remarks on Mexico and border security during his campaign launch speech, which prompted a significant amount of backlash and caused businesses and organizations with Trump affiliations to cut ties with the businessman.
“They’re sending people who have a lot of problems,” Trump said in his now-infamous speech. “They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.”
Despite the intense backlash, Cruz said he agreed with Trump's calls for improvements on border security.
“First, we secure the borders and then we can discuss what to do with all the people who are already here,” he said, adding that he believes himself to be a “passionate advocate for legal immigrants.”
Cruz said both parties are against his position on immigration.
“The Washington cartel supports amnesty. The Washington cartel does not support securing our borders,” he said. “Here’s the sad truth: A lot of Republicans in the Washington cartel are in favor of amnesty, too.”
When asked how he would handle the 11 million undocumented immigrants currently in the U.S., Cruz refused to give Todd an answer — claiming instead that by asking the question, Todd was taking a partisan position.
“Chuck, I don't accept the premise that you have to solve every aspect of this problem all at once,” he said. “President (Barack) Obama and the Democrats focus on that issue because the question you're asking is the most divisive partisan question in this entire debate. And I don't believe President Obama wants to solve this."
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