Donald Trump will face Hillary Clinton again on October 9, and a foe from his past is offering to help him prepare for the return engagement. Sen. Ted Cruz, who finally bestowed his endorsement on Trump last Friday, told radio host Hugh Hewitt that he would be willing to give him some pointers.
“I am happy to help,” Cruz said on Tuesday morning. “I have conveyed that to them.”
The Cruz endorsement came as a surprise to many observers, including Glenn Beck, who was beside himself about the turnaround. For his part, Cruz has not repudiated any of the criticisms he’s launched against Trump; his endorsement was built on stopping Hillary from becoming president. But to further that mission, the conservative icon is willing to let the past be the past.
Can the same be said for Trump, though? Cruz’s non-endorsement stunt at the Republican National Convention surely wasn’t appreciated, and his comments the next day were even worse. Whatever Cruz’s tolerance might be for disrespect, we know that Trump is slow to let go of a grudge.
Here, though, he would be wise to accept Cruz’s offer. Ted was the undisputed star of the primary debates and he would have wiped the floor with Hillary if it had been him standing there Monday night. Some of Cruz’s debate magic comes from talent, but a lot of it comes from skills, tricks, and practice. If he can share some of his best strategies with Trump, the next debate could look a lot different.
Cruz said, though, that criticism of Trump’s performance was largely overblown.
“I think he really went after Hillary, which was a good thing,” Cruz said. “Anyone who is swooning at Hillary’s performance last night, that’s a pretty good indication that you’re a card-carrying member of the liberal media, especially in the first half hour. I think Donald very much had the upper hand over Hillary. Hillary was tentative and had no real answers. She was on the defensive the entire time.”
There’s no doubt about any of that, but there’s room for improvement on Trump’s part. Hillary could have coughed herself into an ambulance and the mainstream media would have declared her the winner; there’s nothing Trump can do about that. But even watching as a die-hard supporter, what can you say about his answer on cyber-security other than…huh? His birther answer wasn’t much better, especially when he had to have known that was going to come up. Sloppiness is not going to put this woman away.
If a Ted Cruz can come in and sharpen some of the rough edges, we can make sure this precious election doesn’t slip through our fingers.