Former President Donald Trump apologized to Sen. Ted Cruz for insulting his wife’s looks, suggesting his father was involved in the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, and questioning whether the Texas Republican could legally run for president if he was born in Canada, according to a forthcoming book by Paul Manafort.
“On his own initiative, Trump did apologize for saying some of the things he said about Cruz, which was unusual for Trump,” the 45th president’s onetime campaign chairman writes, according to the Guardian.
During the bruising 2016 Republican primary race, Trump called Heidi Cruz “ugly,” suggested Ted’s father, Rafael, had ties to Kennedy assassin Lee Harvey Oswald, publicly cast doubt on Cruz’s eligibility to run for president and bestowed the nickname “Lyin’ Ted” upon the senator.
According to Manafort, the real estate tycoon approached Cruz prior to the Republican National Convention that July to secure the Texan’s endorsement.
Cruz, who had finished runner-up to Trump in the nominating contest, responded to the overture by saying he would work with Trump but not endorse him “because his supporters didn’t want him to.”
“It was a forced justification for someone who is normally very logical. Trump didn’t buy it,” Manafort reportedly writes.
Despite Cruz’s cool reception, the author goes on, Trump apologized and told his rival that he “considered him an ally, not an enemy, and that he believed they could work together when Trump was president.”
Cruz notably did not endorse Trump in his convention remarks, outraging the delegates and leading to his wife being escorted out of the hall over fears for her safety.
During Cruz’s remarks, Manafort recalls, Trump groused, “This is bulls–t” and walked to the back of the arena, “effectively pulling the attention away from Cruz and undercutting his speech.”
Cruz was initially upset by Trump’s display of petulance.
“It took months to bring that relationship back,” Manafort writes. “But eventually Cruz came around to supporting Trump, and Trump harbored no ill will.”
Manafort, now 73, resigned as Trump campaign chair that August after news reports detailed under-the-table payments he received for lobbying work on behalf of Ukraine’s pro-Moscow president, Viktor Yanukovych.
Ultimately, Manafort was sentenced to seven years in prison for tax fraud and other crimes related to his work in Ukraine — charges that emerged from special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation. Trump pardoned Manafort in December 2020.
Manafort’s book, “Political Prisoner: Persecuted, Prosecuted, but Not Silenced,” is due out Aug. 16.