Senator Ted Cruz (R) fired his communications director, Rick Tyler, on Monday. This came after Tyler shared an article from the Daily Pennsylvanian, a student newspaper, where Senator Marco Rubio is seen interacting with a Cruz staffer who is reading the Bible. According to the newspaper, Rubio saw the staffer and remarked that the Bible did not “have many answers in it.”
Tyler posted the story to Facebook, but later apologized and deleted it.
“I want to apologize to Senator Marco Rubio for posting an inaccurate story about him here earlier today.” Tyler then went on to blame the news outlet for having the story incorrect, “But the fact remains that I did post it when I should have checked its accuracy first. I regret the mistake.” This pattern is similar to a previous time when the Cruz campaign was confronted about a dishonest tactic. Following a CNN report that Dr. Ben Carson was returning to his home in Florida following the Iowa caucus, the Cruz campaign spread the story and had supporters tell caucus-goers that Dr. Carson was dropping out. The Cruz campaign then blamed CNN for their reporting when this was revealed.
The Rubio campaign praised Tyler for his apology, but took the opportunity to make a dig at the Cruz campaign. “There is a culture in the Cruz campaign, from top to bottom, that no lie is too big and no trick too dirty,” Rubio spokesman Alex Conant said. “Rick did the right thing by apologizing to Marco. It’s high time for Ted Cruz to do the right thing and stop the lies.” Donald Trump and Rubio have both focused their fire at Cruz and said that he and his campaign are dishonest. The attacks have seem to stuck, especially as Cruz had previously campaigned against a backdrop of “TrusTED.”
On Monday afternoon, Cruz announced to reporters that he had asked for Tyler’s resignation. Cruz said that Tyler was a “good man,” but “I have made clear in this campaign we will conduct this campaign with the very highest standards and integrity.” Cruz also said, “This was a grave error of judgment. It turned out the news story he sent around was false but I’ll tell you, even if it was true, we are not a campaign that is going to question the faith of another candidate.”
The Daily Pennsylvanian has added an editor’s note to the story saying that the audio is unclear upon further review.